HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Oxycontin Maker, Others Sued By Kentucky Plaintiffs
Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jun 2001
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Copyright: 2001 Lexington Herald-Leader
Bookmark: (Oxycontin)


Aggressive, deceptive marketing and overprescription of
the painkiller OxyContin have led to serious problems with addiction,
crime and death in southeastern Kentucky, a lawsuit filed yesterday

The suit, filed in Clay County by attorneys Bill Hayes of Middlesboro
and Peter Perlman of Lexington, is apparently the first in Kentucky
targeting OxyContin. Lawsuits that make similar claims are pending in
Virginia and West Virginia.

The Kentucky action names five living plaintiffs and the estates of
two others it claims died of OxyContin overdoses, but seeks
certification as a class-action suit, creating the potential for many
other users of the drug to join.

The defendants are Purdue Pharma L.P. of Stamford, Conn., the maker of
OxyContin; Abbott Laboratories; Dr. Ali Sawaf, a Harlan urologist
charged in February with illegally prescribing OxyContin; and
Pineville Community Hospital.

Purdue Pharma has said similar claims in other states are

Its promotion of OxyContin has been legal and responsible, the company
has said, and it has worked with police and others to cut abuse of the

The plaintiffs suffered financial problems after becoming addicted to
OxyContin; one stole a car and wound up in jail, the suit says.

Sawaf allegedly prescribed OxyContin to some of the people named in
the suit, and the hospital was allegedly a supplier through its
pharmacy, the suit says.

The lawsuit says Purdue Pharma used coercive and inappropriate tactics
to market its drug; "courted and seduced" doctors with free trips to
get them to prescribe the drug; and failed to properly warn of
possible negative effects.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, money for medical treatment, and
$3 million for a substance-abuse center Kentuckians could use for free.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake