One local newspaper said that this first-of-its-kind lawsuit reads like Everett, Washington is suing Mexican drug lord El Chapo Guzman, rather than Purdu Pharma, which turned a blind eye for years to the black market distribution of its highly addictive OxyContin in order to “reap large and obscene profits.”
Now, the City of Everett is proving this outrage in court and wants compensation for having to deal with the aftermath of years of Oxy addiction.
Black Market? Yes.
Here’s what former State Attorney General Rob McKenna said: “The lawsuit claims Purdue is responsible for knowingly, recklessly, and/or negligently supplying OxyContin to obviously suspicious physicians and pharmacies and enabling the illegal diversion of OxyContin into the black market.”
Purdue and El Chapo: Same Shameless Business Model
An exhaustive investigation done by the Los Angeles Times last year revealed that Purdue had its own extensive evidence that illegal trafficking of its pills was going on, big time, all over the country.
Internal Purdue emails included a 2009 excerpt from an exchange between the company’s compliance director and a sales manager who had become suspicious of the high number of OxyContin prescriptions traced back to a certain clinic in Los Angeles.
After visiting the clinic, according to the LA Times, the sales manager wrote that, “the line was out the door, with people who looked like gang members. I feel very certain that this is an organized drug ring.”
That person was right.
But instead of sharing that info with the DEA, the cops or cutting off production, Purdue just kept churning out more and more Oxy and raking in the profits.
A Los Angeles drug ring was indeed supplying OxyContin to gang members, who were trafficking it directly to Everett, a city of 100,000, north of Seattle.
While other states have sued Purdue over its deceptive marketing campaigns that exaggerate the benefits while minimizing the risks of the pain med, Everett’s lawsuit is the first to claim that Purdue knew Oxy was being diverted and peddled on the black market and did nothing to stop it.
If successful, Purdue could be held responsible for footing the bill to wean people off Oxy, rehab and other related costs. The lawsuit also states that Purdue fueled a heroin crisis in Everett.
“Other communities have been devastated as well,” McKenna told MyNorthwest.com. “That could run into the billions and put them out of business or put them out of the business of making OxyContin.”
Everett’s jails and detox facilities are overflowing with addicts, a recent NBC report revealed.
In pursuing the lawsuit, Everett’s Mayor Ray Stephanson cited what he called “clear evidence that Purdue ignored their responsibility to stop the diversion of OxyContin into the black market” in its quest for profits.
“Purdue needs to be held accountable for not taking the action they should have taken, that allowed drugs to hit these streets and make addicts of many of my citizens,” Stephanson told NBC News.
The city of Everett’s court filing is available here.