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UPDATE: Pike County Judge Denies Change of Venue in OxyContin Lawsuit

By: WSAZ News Staff, The Associated Press Email
By: WSAZ News Staff, The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 10/1/13
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ/AP) -- A judge has ruled that a civil trial involving the maker of OxyContin should remain in Pikeville.

The lawsuit filed by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma alleges that the company misled health care providers, consumers and government officials regarding the risk of addiction associated with OxyContin.

Conway is seeking reimbursement of money spent on law enforcement, drug treatment programs and Medicaid prescriptions.

On Monday, the Attorney General announced two key rulings in the case.

The first ruling involved a a change of venue motion by the drug maker to move the case from Pike County to Franklin County.

The company said an impartial jury couldn't be seated in Pike County.

The Attorney General opposed the move and Pike County Court Judge Steven Combs ruled the case will stay in Pike County.

Additionally, Purdue asked the court to allow it to withdraw admissions that the company made when Purdue failed to respond to pleadings in the case. The court denied Purdue’s motion.

Purdue Pharma spokesman James Heins said in a statement that the company disagrees and is "assessing our options."

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/7/13
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) -The Pike Judge-Executive has reportedly announced a settlement in a lawsuit involving the drug OxyContin.

The Appalachian News-Express cited a statement from Wayne T. Rutherford that the drug maker, Purdue Pharma, agreed to pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit over abuse of the narcotic.

Rutherford said he couldn't give further details about the settlement due to terms of the agreement.

The county initially filed the lawsuit in 2007 and asked for damages the community suffered after the company marketed OxyContin as a safer alternative to other pain medicine.

The drug became so pervasive in eastern Kentucky, it was dubbed "Heroin of the Hills."



UPDATE 1/9/13 @ 3:55 p.m.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A federal appeals court has upheld the State of Kentucky's right to sue Purdue Pharma in Kentucky.

Attorney General Jack Conway says Wednesday's ruling means the lawsuit against the maker of of OxyContin will will now be heard in Pike County Circuit Court instead of New York state.

The 2007 lawsuit alleges that Purdue Pharma misled healthcare providers, consumers and government officials regarding the risk of addiction associated with OxyContin.

The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for costs incurred in drug abuse programs, law enforcement actions, and prescription payments through Medicaid and the Kentucky Pharmaceutical Alliance program.

Pike County joined the suit to combat the epidemic of prescription drug abuse, which is blamed for a growing number of overdose deaths across the state.

“OxyContin is highly addictive and easily abused prescription drug that has wrought tragic consequences throughout the Commonwealth, and Purdue Pharma's misrepresentations about its addictive nature helped fuel an epidemic of prescription pill abuse across Kentucky,” Attorney General Jack Conway said. “After years of delay tactics, Purdue will now answer to a Kentucky court and a Kentucky jury."

There's no word when the case will go to trial.



ORIGINAL STORY 9/29/11
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Attorney General Jack Conway is heralding a decision by a federal court judge in New York to send a lawsuit involving the powerful painkiller OxyContin back to Kentucky.

U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein ruled this week that a lawsuit he filed in 2007 against Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, should be heard in Pike County Circuit Court.

Purdue Pharma had pushed successfully to move the case to the Southern District of New York not long after the suit was filed.

Conway alleges that Purdue Pharma misled health care providers, consumers and government officials regarding the risk of addiction associated with OxyContin.

Conway is seeking reimbursement of money spent on law enforcement, drug treatment programs and Medicaid prescriptions.

Purdue Pharma spokesman James Heins had no immediate comment.


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