Pike Circuit Court ruling against Oxycontin maker could bring 'nine figure' settlement

09/30/2013 04:57 PM

A Pike Circuit judge on Monday ruled that drug maker Purdue Pharma can’t get a do-over after missing a deadline to respond to the commonwealth’s arguments over the marketing of Oxycontin.

As Pure Politics first reported Purdue Pharma, which is represented by several law firms including Kentucky-based Stites & Harbison, failed to respond to a court motion and all the admissions the commonwealth sought in the case were deemed admitted.

Judge Steven Combs ruled Monday that Purdue could not withdraw those admissions which include that the drug maker:

· misrepresented and/or concealed the addictive nature of OxyContin,

· knew OxyContin was being abused and wasn’t being used for its stated purpose,

· continued to market and promote OxyContin despite knowing that,

· and encouraged physicians to overprescribe the drug

Attorney General Jack Conway recently told Pure Politics that he expects Purdue Pharma will be liable for damages into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“I expect that a jury in Pike County Kentucky would be very very harsh on Purdue Pharma,” Conway told Pure Politics. “I’m not going to be really negotiating much less or below nine-figures. I want to see something well into nine figures.”

A statement from Conway’s office says that the admissions come in addition to a guilty plea in United States District Court in the Western District of Virginia in 2007 for mis-branding the addictive drug Oxycontin. In that case, Purdue pleaded guilty along with three of its top executives.

The lawsuit was first brought in 2007 by then-Attorney General Greg Stumbo. The crux of the case surrounds the marketing of the narcotic Oxycontin to doctors in Kentucky and whether the company masked the addictive properties of the painkiller.

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