A state lawsuit claiming Purdue Pharma knowingly worsened the opioid crisis for profit will continue, after a Knox County judge last week denied the Oxycontin maker’s motion to dismiss.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery is suing Purdue Pharma, alleging that the company marketed OxyContin as safe when the company knew it was addictive, and aggressively pushed doctors to prescribe the drug for all kinds of pain.

“Needless to say, we are pleased with the ruling,” Slatery said in a press release Wednesday.

“Our Office filed the Complaint after an extensive investigation into Purdue’s highly aggressive marketing practices and other unlawful conduct. We continue to believe Purdue’s conduct has been unconscionable and that the company helped cause one of the most devastating public health crises in Tennessee’s history. We intend to hold Purdue accountable as we move forward with the litigation,” Slaterly said.

The state claims Purdue’s conduct is a violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and “led to addiction, abuse, diversion, and other negative outcomes that have caused the State and its political subdivisions to spend substantial resources to attempt to address.”

The company filed a motion late last year asking Knox County Circuit Judge Kristi Davis to dismiss the case, arguing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved Oxycontin. Purdue also blamed the addicted population for misusing the drug against the directions on its label.

Davis’ ruling reads: “The court finds that Purdue’s argument is based upon a mischaracterization of the state’s complaint, which is not grounded in the content of the medication labels but rather the conduct of Purdue and its pharmaceutical sales representatives.”

The lawsuit, unsealed last year, reveals a company sales culture that lobbed high-pressure pitches specifically on doctors with the least amount of resources to fact-check misleading claims. The lawsuit also showed that sales representatives, acting under their own pressure from managers, repeatedly called on clients that they knew to be pill mills.

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