Attorney General Ellison expands MN lawsuit against Purdue Pharma

The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed at a Walgreens drugstore in Brookline, Mass.
Darren McCollester | Getty Images 2001

Updated: 2:34 p.m. | Posted: 12:53 p.m.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Friday he's expanding the state's lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, maker of of the opioid painkiller OxyContin.

State Rep. Rod Hamilton and Attorney General Keith Ellison.
State Rep. Rod Hamilton, Republican from Mountain Lake, joined Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announcing a lawsuit against generic drugmakers for alleged price fixing.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

The state added former president Richard Sackler and seven family members to the suit as individual defendants.

Ellison said as board members and owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family were instrumental in setting aggressive sales goals and pushing deceptive marketing tactics.

"We allege that they knew, at least in 1999, that prescription opioids lead to addiction," said Ellison. "Despite learning this early on, they continued to personally direct and participate in misconduct that contributed to the epidemic that we see all across the state of Minnesota and the United States today."

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The state first sued Purdue Pharma last year, alleging consumer fraud, deceptive and unlawful trade practices, false advertising and other claims.

No trial date has been set. A judge rejected the company's motion to dismiss the lawsuit earlier this year.

A spokesperson for two of the Sackler brothers who owned the company called the lawsuit "baseless" and said they "strongly deny" the allegations against them.