Pubdate: Sat, 31 Aug 2002
Source: Cincinnati Post (OH)
Copyright: 2002 The Cincinnati Post
Author: Craig Garretson
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)


Cincinnati attorney Stan Chesley can bring a class-action lawsuit
against the makers of the drug OxyContin, a Butler County judge ruled

Lawsuits against OxyContin's manufacturer, Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and
marketer, Abbott Laboratories Inc., have been filed across the
country, but Chesley said he believes Common Pleas Judge Michael
Sage's ruling is the first to certify a statewide class action on
behalf of thousands of people who took the controversial pain killer.

Chesley called OxyContin "as addictive and dangerous as heroin" in his
lawsuit, initially filed last June 2001 on behalf of Mount Airy
resident Judy Wethington.

Mrs. Wethington's son David used, and later became addicted to,
OxyContin for pain related to pancreatitis, inflammation of the
pancreas. He died in 1999 at the age of 34.

Chesley accuses Purdue Pharma of a "flagrant disregard of human life"
for its aggressive marketing of the prescription drug to the public
despite growing problems with abuse and illegal sales of the drug.

OxyContin is a time-released drug that is often used by cancer
patients. Prescribed in tablet form, it can give pain relief for up to
12 hours. But theft, over-prescription and abuse of the drug have
attracted the attention of authorities nationwide, especially in the
Midwest, over the last two years.

Chesley said Purdue Pharma is responsible for the drug's abuse because
it has failed to sufficiently warn people about the risks of addiction
and continued to aggressively market the drug "as if it were little
more than a simple pain medication instead of a dangerous narcotic,"
Chesley said.

The marketing plans, according to the lawsuit, included sending
hundreds of doctors on free weekend trips to Florida, California and
Arizona, where they were recruited and paid fees to speak to other
doctors about the importance of prescribing OxyContin.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake