Purdue Pharma, Oklahoma Attorney General battle on location for state's opioid case

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. (KOKH)

Oklahoma’s Attorney General says he plans to file a motion to keep the state’s case against several large pharmaceutical companies in Cleveland County.

On Wednesday, Purdue Pharma filed a notice of removal in an attempt to move the state’s case against opioid manufacturers to multi-district litigation in Ohio federal court. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says he plans to file a motion to remand and keep the case in Norman.

In July 2017, Purdue agreed to a court filing that the state’s lawsuit was in the proper venue and that they wouldn’t try to move the case to federal court.

“Purdue wants the case before a judge in Cleveland, Ohio, while we want it before a judge in Cleveland County, Oklahoma,” Attorney General Hunter said. “This is just the latest move by a company that is terrified of a jury of Oklahomans hearing our case. Given the company’s past behavior, I am not surprised they would abuse the legal system by filing a frivolous notice of removal. We will not be intimidated by these tactics.”

The suit claims that companies knowingly marketed their drugs as safe for chronic pain management while downplaying the risks of opioid dependency and overstating the effectiveness of the drugs. The suit is set to go to trial in May 2019.

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