New Jersey sues Sackler family for alleged role in opioid epidemic

New Jersey sues Sackler family for alleged role in opioid epidemic
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New Jersey is suing the family that founded Purdue Pharma, alleging "deceptive" marketing practices that fueled the opioid epidemic. 

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said his office filed the lawsuit Thursday against eight members of the Sackler family.

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“We allege that these eight defendants, despite knowing the highly addictive nature of their product, adopted highly deceptive marketing practices, encouraged reckless prescriptions and targeted multiple patient populations,” Grewal said.

“They sought and reaped huge profits from the suffering of others.”

Purdue Pharma produces the opioid painkiller OxyContin. 

The family and Purdue Pharma are named in thousands of lawsuits filed by cities, counties and states over their alleged role in the opioid epidemic. 

A spokesperson for members of the family called the lawsuit "baseless." 

“This baseless lawsuit is yet another misguided attempt to place blame where it does not belong for a complex public health crisis," the spokesperson said in a statement. 

"We strongly deny these allegations, which are inconsistent with the factual record, and will vigorously defend against them."

Court filings in a Massachusetts lawsuit claim members of the family directed years of efforts to mislead doctors and patients about the dangers of OxyContin.

Nearly 48,000 died from opioid overdoses in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.