Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho has sued opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma L.P. and related companies in local court for violating Guam’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The complaint alleges that Purdue “misled” prescribers and patients about the safety and efficacy of its opioids to increase the company’s profits. The complaint also describes the alleged deceptive marketing campaign and publications financed by Purdue to push its “highly addictive” opioids while “downplaying” the dangers of addiction with long-term use.
In a statement, AG Camacho said Guam has an opioid problem and his office will continue to look at ways to combat drug addiction on the island, including holding companies like Purdue “who put opioid profits over patient safety accountable.”
According to the complaint, there were over 97,000 opioid prescriptions dispensed in Guam between 2015-2019. The OAG also alleges that nearly 200 doses of Naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, were dispensed at Guam Memorial Hospital from 2018 through July 2019.
The complaint alleges that Purdue designed, financed and waged a marketing campaign to mislead prescribers, patients and the public into believing their opioid drugs were safe to treat pain on a long-term basis. This includes the allegation that Purdue rebranded a formula of OxyContin as “abuse deterrent” despite a lack of evidence to support that claim.
Purdue also allegedly introduced the concept of “pseudo-addiction” into its marketing campaign to mask signs of true opioid addiction.
Deputy Attorney General Fred Nishihira and Assistant Attorneys General Janice Camacho and Joseph Perez are handling the matter for the OAG.
Anyone seeking information or help with opioid addiction are urged to contact Oasis Empowerment Center at 646-4601 or Valerie Reyes, Director of Salvation Army Lighthouse Recovery Center, at 477-7671.