Wednesday, July 04, 2001

Oxy trade target of lawsuit

Status sought as class action

By Amanda York
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Lawyers from Kentucky and Ohio have filed a class-action complaint against the makers of OxyContin.

        The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Pike County Circuit Court in Pikeville, an eastern Kentucky town that was one of the first to see abuse of the prescription painkiller.

        The suit seeks a jury trial for damages in relation to two overdose deaths and several cases of addiction and asks that the suit be classified as a class action.

        Lawyers working on the case include Pikeville's Ira Branham, Louisville's Gary Gardner and Cincinnati's Stanley Chesley.

        Mr. Chesley, well-known for his work with class-action litigation, filed suit Friday in Hamilton County against the company.

        He said the Pikeville suit showed the “regional tragedy” of the drug in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. Plaintiffs named in the Pikeville suit include Ricky Salisbury, of Harold, Ky., the estate of Sandy Tackett, of Galveston, Ky., Norma Salisbury, of Harold, Ky., and Robert Smith, Jr., of Pikeville.

        Pikeville, which formerly had an economy largely based on coal production, was one of the towns targeted in a February OxyContin sweep that resulted in more than 200 arrests.

        Purdue Pharma LLP, the Stamford, Conn.-based firm that makes the drug used for treatment of cancer pain and serious injuries said the company had not seen the complaint yet.

        “The complaint will not deter Purdue from its mission to ensure patients in pain in Kentucky have the medication they need,” a Purdue spokesman said.


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- Oxy trade target of lawsuit
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