Burns applauds lawsuit against OxyContin creator

Move falls in line with legislator’s 2017 request to hold Big Pharma accountable

HARRISBURG, May 15 – Saying the move falls squarely in line with his written request in 2017 to hold Big Pharma accountable, state Rep. Frank Burns is applauding the state attorney general’s decision to sue the maker of OxyContin for contributing to the opioid crisis plaguing Pennsylvania.

Burns, D-Cambria, commended Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a former Democratic House colleague, for filing the suit against Purdue Pharma for its over-zealous marketing of the drug, which included a mind-boggling 531,000 visits to physicians’ offices and pharmacies.

“My good friend Josh Shapiro has taken this company to court, alleging a multi-pronged, illegal effort to market OxyContin, an addictive opioid that doctors overprescribed and, in some cases, illegally prescribed to patients,” Burns said. “This lawsuit is exactly the type of action I had in mind when I wrote letters to Mr. Shapiro and Governor Tom Wolf, asking them to take action against the makers and peddlers of prescription opioids.”

Burns said he recognized early on that pharmaceutical companies were lining their pockets and putting profits ahead of the addiction and deaths of thousands of Pennsylvanians each year. He added that Shapiro’s lawsuit accuses Purdue Pharma of targeting vulnerable populations, including the elderly and veterans, which is unconscionable.

“Hearing that makes my blood boil – and makes me glad that Mr. Shapiro is going to make this drug company justify their tactics in court,” Burns said. “Targeting seniors and veterans, in order to take advantage of them, is about as low as you can go.”

Burns added after he sent his letter to Shapiro, the Attorney General’s Office initiated an investigation that led Pennsylvania and 40 other states to launch an investigation into six opioid manufacturers and three opioid distributors. 

“Families have suffered the devastation of opioids long enough. It’s time these pharmaceutical companies are held responsible, and I hope there is much more to come from Mr. Shapiro on this matter.”