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New Jersey sues Oxycontin maker, links marketing to opioid crisis

TRENTON, N.J. (Reuters) — New Jersey on Tuesday sued Purdue Pharma LP, maker of the chronic pain medication OxyContin, accusing the company of engaging in deceptive marketing practices that contributed to what it called the state’s opioid crisis.

The 103-page lawsuit by state Attorney General Christopher Porrino accused Purdue of engaging in unconscionable commercial practices, making false claims and creating a public nuisance.

It is one of a growing number of lawsuits by state and local governments seeking to hold drug companies accountable for a nationwide opioid epidemic.

Opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin, played a role in more than 33,000 U.S. deaths in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to present our defense,” Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue said in a statement. “We are deeply troubled by the opioid crisis and we are dedicated to being part of the solution.”

The lawsuit was filed in Essex County Superior Court.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio

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New Jersey sues Oxycontin maker, links marketing to opioid crisis