First it sold Oxycontin, then pharma company saw market for anti-addiction drug, suit says

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By Associated Press and Corky Siemaszko

BOSTON — Purdue Pharma, one of the pharmaceutical companies accused of fueling the deadly opioid crisis, considered selling an anti-addiction drug to “an attractive market” of people struggling with addictions, according to newly unveiled court documents.

The potentially damning detail was contained in the version of the lawsuit filed against the maker of OxyContin and members of the family that own it by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office that Purdue Pharma had fought to keep under wraps.

But on Thursday, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma lost a legal battle to keep some parts of the lawsuit, which was filed last year, confidential.

Family and friends who have lost loved ones to OxyContin and opioid overdoses leave pill bottles with protest messages on them outside the headquarters of Purdue Pharma, which is owned by the Sackler family, in Stamford, Conn.Jessica Hill / AP file

Purdue is accused of trying to profit off a crisis that it helped spark by having its sales force tell doctors that the prescription painkiller OxyContin had a low addiction risk. The newly released public allegations reveal the company considered investing in suboxone, a drug used to treat addiction.

The suit from Massachusetts is one of more than 1,000 by state and local governments pending against Purdue. A federal judge in Cleveland overseeing lawsuits filed in federal court is pushing for a settlement aimed at stemming the crisis.