A lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General against the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma has brought to light the questionable relationships between Purdue and several local hospitals. The lawsuit alleges that Purdue aggressively and misleadingly marketed its opioid drugs, including OxyContin, while trying to hide the all too real risk of patient addiction and overdose. Purdue faces similar lawsuits throughout the country for its role in the current opioid crisis with allegations that it turned a blind eye to the misuse and overprescribing of its drugs while reaping billions of dollars from the sales.  

The recent fillings, however, call into question whether local hospitals and physicians put patients at risk by continuing to prescribe OxyContin even when the risks of the drug became clear to employees at the hospitals. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office filed documents detailing the close relationship between Purdue and Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center. For years, Purdue donated millions of dollars to these medical institutions and gained direct access to its doctors, creating the inference that Purdue was getting something in return for these donations and raising serious patient safety conflicts. The filings reveal that Tufts Medical Center went so far as to have a Purdue employee as an adjunct professor at its medical school and also allowed materials that Purdue wrote to be taught to its students.  

Although much attention has been directed at how Purdue and other prescription opioid manufacturers flooded the market with dangerous drugs knowing the risk for patient addiction, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s suit shows there may be an even darker side to this story – hospitals and medical schools sacrificing patient safety for donations from opioid manufacturers. It is often difficult for patients to imagine that doctors and hospitals would put profit over patient safety, but the AG’s lawsuit shows how easily this can happen.

Patients and families of patients of Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center who became addicted to opioid medications prescribed by these institutions may very well have a claim for damages under Massachusetts law. The personal injury attorneys at SUGARMAN are dedicated to helping patients and families affected by the opioid crisis – please call one of our partners to discuss your potential medical malpractice claim at 617-542-1000 or fill out a Contact Form, or e-mail info@sugarman.com.