Opioid suit: New York targets billionaire family behind OxyContin – NBCNews.com

New York on Thursday sued the billionaire family behind OxyContin, joining a growing list of state and local governments alleging the drugmaker sparked the nation’s opioid crisis by putting hunger for profits over patient safety.

The state, which averages nine opioid-related deaths per day, amended an existing lawsuit against pill maker Purdue Pharma to add members of its controlling Sackler family as defendants. The state also added as defendants five other companies that produce opioid painkillers and, in what New York Attorney General Letitia James called a novelty, four drug distributors.

“This is an extensive lawsuit that leaves no stone unturned,” James, a Democrat, said at a news conference.

The lawsuit seeks penalties and damages that could add up to tens of millions of dollars and a dedicated fund to curb the opioid epidemic. It also seeks to have the companies stripped of their licenses and barred from marketing and distributing painkillers in New York until they abide by strict safeguards.

The companies, the lawsuit said, deliberately betrayed their duties under state drug laws “in order to profiteer from the plague they knew would be unleashed.”

The lawsuit described the opioid epidemic as a “statewide catastrophe.”

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