Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has charged seven members of the Sackler family, who control the drug maker Purdue Pharma, with violating the state Consumer Protection Act by allegedly deceiving patients and prescribers about the dangers and efficacy of taking opioids to treat chronic pain.
The action is part of a coordinated effort with four other states to take the drug maker and the Sackler family to court.
The state accuses the Sackler family of using “nefarious” marketing and sales strategies to expand the use of opioids and encourage addiction.
On a phone call with reporters Thursday, Frosh said the individuals named in the legal filing took billions of dollars out of the company and personally oversaw the deceptive practices.
“The damage that’s been caused in our state is extraordinarily large — we estimate close to $19 billion,” he said. “The company and the family, the Sackler family, we allege, have left a trail of addiction and death.”
In a statement, Purdue Pharma said it "vigorously denies the allegations in the lawsuits filed today and will continue to defend itself against these misleading attacks.”
It said the filings won’t stand up in court.