Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Chesley next to sue maker of OxyContin




By Amanda York
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CINCINNATI — With Purdue Pharma, the maker of the painkiller OxyContin, already facing billions of dollars in lawsuit damages, Cincinnati lawyer Stan Chesley said Tuesday he plans to file suit against the Connecticut-based company.

        Mr. Chesley, of Amberley Village, has achieved recognition for his class-action suits following the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire, and against tobacco companies and breast-implant makers. He is working with several West Virginia and Kentucky law firms and said his suit on behalf of Ohio clients would be filed in a week to 10 days.

Chesley
Chesley
        He did not disclose which law firms he was working with but said he had worked with them in the past.

        “This is a very serious issue, and I'm looking forward to getting into it,” Mr. Chesley said, calling the abuse of the drug “rampant in certain parts of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.”

        Purdue Pharma representatives said they were not aware of Mr. Chesley's plans, and had no comment.

        The suit would be the latest in a string of lawsuits filed against the company. In May, Frank Armada, a lawyer in West Virginia, filed a class-action suit against the company as well as doctors who prescribed the drug. Mr. Armada said his firm had not been contacted by Mr. Chesley.

        Last week, the attorney general's office in West Virginia announced it was filing a suit for more than $4.6 million and on Friday a $5 billion dollar lawsuit was filed by a group of people in Virginia.

        Both suits allege the drug, which is supposed to be used for moderate to severe pain, has been deceptively marketed and overprescribed by doctors. Mr. Chesley said Tuesday his suit would be looking at those issues as well.

        Purdue officials have staunchly defended themselves against the other suits, calling the claims “baseless” and promising to continue to provide the medicine to patients.

        OxyContin, a painkiller containing oxycodone, is often prescribed to terminally ill cancer patients. Abusers get a heroin-like high from the drug.

       



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