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Purdue Pharma knew its opioids were being abused, per new report

Purdue Pharma knew its opioids were being abused, per new report
[Photo: Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images]

Purdue Pharma, the company behind OxyContin, has insisted it had no idea that the opioid painkiller was being abused by addicts until it was too late. Turns out that the pharmaceutical giant *clutches smelling salts* may not have been telling the truth. The New York Times got its hands on a Justice Department report which reveals that Purdue Pharma knew about “significant” abuse of OxyContin in the first years after the drug hit the market in 1996. Purdue Pharma allegedly knew pills were being swiped from pharmacies, crushed, and snorted, and they concealed that information and “in the face of this knowledge” continued to market OxyContin as less prone to abuse and addiction than other prescription opioids, prosecutors wrote in 2006.

The report could make it harder for Purdue to defend itself in lawsuits filed by the Muskogee (Creek) and Cherokee sovereign nations and seven states, including most recently New York, for its part in the opioid crisis.

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