Lawsuits vs Opioid Manufacturers: The Case of Purdue Pharmaceuticals

Published: 2023-11-14
Lawsuits vs Opioid Manufacturers: The Case of Purdue Pharmaceuticals
Type of paper:  Case study
Categories:  Abuse Law Drug abuse
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1709 words
15 min read


Numerous legal actions have been raised against companies that manufacture and supply opioid drugs in the United States of America. One such manufacture is Purdue pharmaceuticals. Purdue Pharmaceuticals is a privately owned New York City-based company; it produces and supplies oxycontin and many other opioids. Opioids are medications that incorporate the illegal medication heroin, engineered opioids, such as fentanyl and other pain remedies accessible lawfully by prescription (Lexchin, 2018). Opioids manufactured by Purdue are used in several hospitals for the relief of both chronic and acute pain. However, misuse, addiction, and above required doses grave public health problems in the United States of America. In a legal suit against the company, Bill de Blasio alleged that Purdue overlooked the devastating magnitude of its product and benefited from its huge deception (Lexchin, 2018).

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Purdue, however, distances from being held at fault. Through the company representative, the company acknowledges the awareness of troubles caused by prescription and illegal opioid use and is steadfast in being part of the solution. This research paper addresses the ethical and legal problems facing Purdue pharmaceutical companies. It also discusses how Friedman's philosophy of shareholder and free-market ethics can influence a company's leadership and identifies other available ethical structures for Purdue pharmaceuticals. Lastly, the research paper identifies additional legal issues relating to the company.

Purdue's Legal and Ethical Dilemma

Purdue pharmaceuticals manufacture opioid drugs that are used in hospitals for severe pain relief. After the release of Oxycontin in 1996, a medicine which utilizes a well-ordered release mechanism to provide large doses. The company aggressively pushed sales of its drug by way of false information despite the numerous stories of prescription Oxycontin addiction growth. The discussion behind the organization rose because of the medications that they made and how they conveyed high potential for enslavement. The most regularly misused drugs that the organization produces are MS Contin and OxyContin (Trevino & Nelson, 2016).

Even though the drug is prescription only, the users had at hand several loopholes for potential abuse. They could visit different physicians to acquire extra prescriptions and fail to adhere to the recommended dosage. Bill de Blasio claims that more New Yorkers have passed on from narcotic overdoses than vehicle accidents and manslaughters joined. That huge Pharma assisted with filling this pestilence by misleadingly hawking these risky medications and snaring a great many Americans in return for a benefit.

In the year 2002, Purdue propelled the Massachusetts General Hospital Purdue Pain Program, a program that gave Purdue name acknowledgment among clinical understudies, inhabitants, and the general population, just as political insurance against the endeavors to address the narcotic emergency (Trevino & Nelson, 2016). However, according to Dan Polster, a judge in Cleveland, Ohio, through whom several lawsuits relating to the manufacturing and distribution of opioids have been consolidated. Everybody shares a portion of the duty, and nobody has done what's needed to decrease it. That incorporates the producers, the wholesalers, the drug stores, the specialists, the central government and state government, neighborhood governments, clinics, outsider payers, and people (Trevino & Nelson, 2016). However, the company has petitioned for financial protection as a major aspect of an expected $12 billion settlement with state and local governments. Steve Miller, Chairman Purdue board of directors, said that the settlement system abstains from squandering a huge number of dollars and years on extended prosecution but rather will give billions of dollars and basic assets to networks the nation over attempting to adapt to the narcotic emergency (Trevino & Nelson, 2016).

Influence of the Philosophy of Free-Market Ethics

The premise of Friedman's philosophy was the origination that human opportunity was indistinguishable from the liberated activity of the market and the arrangement of private property (Orlitzky, 2015). Besides, the market was not a specific social mechanism emerging at a definite point throughout the entire existence of human culture yet had an ageless quality. A free private market is a system for accomplishing intentional co-activity among individuals. It applies to any human action, not just to monetary exchanges.

In a free-endeavor, private-property framework, a corporate chief is representative of the business's proprietors. The corporate chief has a direct duty to his bosses. That duty is to direct the company as per their wants, to make as much cash as possible under the circumstances while adjusting to the general public's essential standards, both those encapsulated in law and those typified in moral custom. Now and again, his businesses may have an alternate goal. On the off chance that this announcement isn't an unadulterated manner of speaking, it must imply that the representative acts in some way that isn't in light of a legitimate concern for his managers. For example, in the case of Purdue leadership, refrain from the production of drugs entangled with high dependency would have changed society's perception of the company.

Available Alternative Ethical Framework

Strict Adherence to Government Department and Agencies Policies

The arrangements of offices and administration can be comprehended as articulations of responsibility concerning those legislative associations and, subsequently, people in them, to direct their undertakings as indicated by the guidelines and techniques that establish those approaches. In this sense, approaches make moral commitments. At the point when an office or organization embraces a specific strategy, it, as a result, vows to put forth reasonable attempts to submit to it. At any rate where interest in the association is deliberate, and where the association's characterizing intention is ethically genuine, to accept a job in the association is to expect the commitments that connect to that job (Ruggie & Sherman III, 2017). Contingent on their roles in the association, specific people may have a more outstanding or lesser obligation regarding assisting with guaranteeing that the strategy duties of the association are respected. For instance, elevated level administrators that plan hierarchical strategies commit to finding a way to ensure that these approaches are successfully actualized. If the administration neglects to release these commitments, they have fouled up and are reprehensible, except if some mitigating condition vindicates them of duty.

One kind of palliating situation is that the strategy is referred to be deceptive. One can be held at chaste for not endeavoring to execute it. Also, the person may be adulated for striving for an institutional change at some expert or personal risk. Various sorts of associations have different characterizing purposes, and these distinctions decide the character of the office's or organization's job inferred commitments. All administration associations have extraordinary obligations to act impartially and decently secure all residents, including the weakest ones (Ruggie & Sherman III, 2017). Strict application government agencies guideline would have resulted in Purdue, raising more awareness amongst the medical practitioners about the adverse effect of prolonged and overuse of their product, and encouraging sensible prescription habits. This awareness would have alerted the prescriber's opioid and the relevant government policymakers to take prerequisite actions in light of preventing overuse and dependency. Through its marketing department, Purdue could have overlooked the monetary benefit to the company but the adverse effect that their product would lead the vulnerable population.

Other Relevant Legal Principles


Insolvency is a conventional procedure guided by law in which an account holder's property is gone over to a trustee who takes over the payment of creditors (Jacoby, 2017). Firms face financial distress for several reasons; it could be that their plan of action is lethally defective. These cases, and the formal and casual force that the inquirers have concerning the firm, imply that a bothering firm is especially prone to contending motivations concerning future blueprints. The corporate chapter gives a component to settling these contending claims; what's more, it does as such by permitting resource adjustment and resource division. Adjustment guarantees that the association's operational alternatives are kept up. Resource division guarantees that the advantages radical these alternatives can be isolated from liabilities that by law or on the other hand, contracts are connected to them. Purdue sought financial protection in White Plains, New York, in the wake of arriving at a provisional settlement with a significant number of the state and nearby governments suing it over the cost of narcotics. If successful, this will ensure that the families, government agencies, and other creditors are remedied for all the wrongdoings emanated from the company operations.

Negligent Marketing

A few offended parties have brought damage claims against Purdue dependent on negligent marketing. Negligent marketing, which is frequently referred to as "over advertisement," depends on negligence standards instead of standards of strict products liability (Oliva & Kelle, 2018). Suppose a court concludes that a producer or other product provider has engaged in a negligent promotion. The court may impose an obligation regarding harm brought about by an item even though it is not deficient. The doctrine of negligent promotion rests on the idea that item vendors should not seek after advertising techniques that increase the risk that their items will be bought by the individuals who are probably going to harm themselves or harm others.

Negligent marketing cases can be found on item design, promotional or advertising exercises, and dispersion practices (Oliva & Kelle, 2018). Purdue may have engaged with every one of these types of negligent promotion. One could contend that the OxyContin pill was intended to engage individuals abusing drugs. It contained a lot higher oxycodone than other pain prescriptions and 160 milligrams for every container. Additionally, the time-discharge mechanism was easy to defeat, consequently permitting drug abusers to accomplish a heroin-like high. The contention for negligent marketing is significantly more grounded. It should be noticed that medication organizations utilize different advertising strategies to advance their items, and the greater part of them are authentic when not abused. However, taking into account that the item included was an exceptionally dangerous Schedule II opiate, Purdue's promotional exercises may have gone too far.

Purdue supported more than 20,000 promotional projects, thereby, impacting OxyContin's recommendation in the United States. Additionally, Purdue advanced OxyContin among essential care doctors to urge them to endorse opioids more as often as possible. Besides, it called its salesmen to empower OxyContin forcefully and even gave them free starter coupons to provide for specialists for possible dispersion to their patients. At last, to build the utilization of OxyContin to treat non-disease related constant agony, the organization in its advertising and promotional exercises downplayed the danger of addiction from long term opioid use.

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Lawsuits vs Opioid Manufacturers: The Case of Purdue Pharmaceuticals. (2023, Nov 14). Retrieved from

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