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California Expands Lawsuit Against Pharma Family That Profits on Opioids

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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on October 3 that he has filed an amended complaint in his lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, adding eight additional members of the Sackler family. The original lawsuit was filed on June 3.

The complaint now includes Beverly Sackler, Jonathan Sackler, David Sackler, Marianna Sackler, Theresa Sackler, Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, Dr. Kathe Sackler, and Mortimer D.A. Sackler.

Becerra alleges that Purdue’s misleading marketing and sales practices played a major role in contributing to the nationwide opioid crisis. It further alleged that Purdue created a public nuisance through its deceptive sales and marketing practices, which misled healthcare providers and patients about the addictive nature of opioids and contributed to an over-supply of opioids in the market.

Today’s amended complaint adds allegations regarding the Sackler family, who significantly contributed to, and profited from, the harmful impact of opioids in our communities. Opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths in the United States. Opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths nationwide in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. In 2017 alone there were 2,196 opioid-related overdose deaths in California.

“Fighting the opioid crisis and holding accountable the individuals who helped fuel it remains a serious priority for the state of California,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Purdue and the Sackler family must face the consequences for their harmful, reckless actions. My office will continue fighting to protect the well-being of all Californians.”

In the lawsuit, it is alleged that Purdue misleadingly introduced OxyContin into the market as a safe and effective treatment for chronic, non-cancer pain. As early as February 1997, Purdue and certain of the Sackler defendants knew that oxycodone-containing drugs like OxyContin were among the most abused opioids in the United States.

Yet, between 1996 and 2002, Purdue more than doubled its sales force, and sales rose from approximately $48 million to nearly $2 billion in 2002. These sales were made by representatives falsely promoting OxyContin as a drug that was neither addictive nor subject to withdrawal symptoms, while minimizing its potential for abuse and addiction.

By March 2000, Purdue was aware of specific reports made to the company about the abuse and diversion of OxyContin occurring in communities across the United States. In fact, in 2007, Purdue and a number of its executives pleaded guilty to felony misbranding of OxyContin, admitting that they illegally promoted OxyContin. Purdue agreed to pay over $600 million in criminal and civil penalties, fines, and forfeitures.

Despite this, Purdue continued its deceptive marketing and promoting of OxyContin. Their revenues amounted to $3 billion in 2010, and as much as $1.8 billion as recently as 2017. The lawsuit further alleges that as part of its aggressive deceptive marketing campaign, Purdue distributed literature and other materials that misrepresented the safety of its opioid products to healthcare professionals and patients in California and elsewhere.

Purdue sales representatives further pushed physicians to prescribe opioids to “trusted” patients, and implied that healthcare professionals could screen out potential addicts through urine tests and patient contracts.

In addition to the amended complaint, Attorney General Becerra also joined a coalition of 23 attorneys general and formally opposed Purdue Pharma’s request to make $38 million in bonus, incentive, and other payments to employees.

The Attorneys General filed a joinder to the United States Trustee’s objection to Purdue’s authorization request for their multi-million dollar incentive, bonus, and severance plans. Purdue made this request just two weeks after declaring bankruptcy in the face of multi-billion dollar liabilities for their role in engineering the opioid epidemic.

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Business

RAGE is Latest Venue to Fall Victim to the Pandemic

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Another LGBTQ+ Nightlife Destination Has Fallen Victim to the Pandemic

WEST HOLLYWOOD (L.A. Magazine) — Rage nightclub has been a destination for LGBTQ+ nightlife in the bustling Santa Monica Boulevard corridor of West Hollywood for decades. Now, nearly 40 years after first opening its doors, the club has announced it has permanently closed, yet another local business to collapse amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rage nightclub management lays some portion of the blame on their landlord, Monte Overstreet. The club’s now-former general manager, Ron Madrill, told Q Voice News that rent for the location was already “very high” prior to operations shutting down in March. He says he believes an impasse over rent payments may have contributed to Rage’s closure.

Overstreet also reportedly owns the space formerly occupied by neighboring bar Flaming Saddles Saloon, which also announced […]

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Business

21 Workers Test Positive for Coronavirus at Rock n Roll Ralphs

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Workers protest outside Ralphs in Hollywood where 21 have tested positive for coronavirus

HOLLYWOOD (KTLA) — Workers rallied Friday outside a Ralphs store in Hollywood where 21 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The group called on the store to take more aggressive action when staff test positive for the virus, and to ramp up efforts to protect the grocery store employees, who are considered essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

They said they speak for thousands of workers who are afraid they aren’t getting enough protection as the virus continues to spread countywide, infecting more than 24,000 as of Friday.

The Ralphs at 7257 W. Sunset Blvd. has had an outbreak involving several workers who tested positive for the virus, according to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, which lists businesses and […]

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Business

‘Stay Put, Order In’ and Dine With Friends on Zoom, Says Mayor

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WEST HOLLYWOOD — WeHo is home to some of the best restaurants in the world and our community members are used to gathering around restaurant tables and enjoying meals together. Now, there’s an opportunity to, instead, gather around kitchen tables at home and enjoy a meal (or many!) while supporting our local restaurants.

“One of the worst things about the Safer At Home directive is being disconnected from friends, neighbors, and the city around us,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “Don’t be alone if you don’t have to be – take advantage of the technology out there and invite a friend to Zoom in for Ziti or share some Farfalle over FaceTime.”

Mealtime is a wonderful opportunity to connect with friends, family, and loved ones using virtual teleconferencing technology, while partaking in your favorite delivered or takeout food.

City Encourages Residents to Support Local Restaurants During Safer At Home Orders

Many West Hollywood restaurants remain open and are offering takeout, curbside, and delivery meals, which are sensitive to social distancing during the emergency. The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to offer a directory of “Stay Put, Order In” eateries in West Hollywood, which is accessible by visitingwww.weho.org/coronavirus (click the “Stay Put, Order In” link!) or www.wehochamber.com/dinein. This list is updated daily.

“We need to start hanging out together, and talking, and seeing each other again. So, why not plan to #WeHoDinnerConnect this week – maybe Saturday at 8 p.m.? Or Sunday at 7 p.m.? Or even just 15 minutes of screen-to-screen gossip,” said Mayor D’Amico. “And you don’t have to cook a thing… local restaurants have meals and menus tailored to take-away choices and they’re ready to send food over to your house or make arrangements for you to pick it up.”

If picking up food, remember to wear face coverings, which are required to enter essential businesses.

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