Scott says he supports lawsuit against Purdue Pharma

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MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott said Friday he supports Attorney General TJ Donovan's lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the producer of the opioid OxyContin, but the governor's campaign still refuses to return a donation from the company.

"I look at this the same as I do with tobacco. That is, if there's wrongdoing on anyone's part, if there was any deception of any sort—these enterprises should pay the price,"

Scott said, "and so I look forward to this investigation into this action and its conclusion.

On Wednesday, Donovan announced that Vermont would join a list of at least 23 states to sue Purdue Pharma over alleged deceptive marketing of opioids as safe and effective painkillers that has contributed to the opioid

crisis.

"The basis of our lawsuit is this: Purdue Pharma lied, they misrepresented, they fabricated, they deceived, and they spread falsehoods, and they made billions off of it and they created a path of destruction that the state of Vermont is still reeling from," Donovan said.

Last month VTDigger reported that Purdue Pharma had given a $1,000 contribution to Scott's campaign that led Terje Anderson, the chair of the Vermont Democratic Party to say that Scott "might as well accept money from a drug dealer on the corner."

Scott's campaign has denied that accepting campaign donations from companies like Purdue will have any effect on how Scott governs.

"Contributions are received and people send in contributions because they either agree with the governor or his policy positions, not the other way around," Brittney Wilson told VTDigger at the time.

Wilson also previously told VTDigger that Purdue needs to be "part of the solution" to cure the opioid crisis and the company is "supporting candidates who are taking prevention, treatment and enforcement seriously."

Richard Sackler, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, was granted a patent for a drug to help recovering opioid addicts earlier this year.

Purdue Pharma's formulation is reportedly a new version of a methadone-alternative, Suboxone, owned by the British pharmaceutical company Indivior.

VTDigger reported in 2014 that Vermont spent $8.25 million in Medicaid money the previous year on buprenorphine, the generic term for Suboxone.

Last year Suboxone generated over $800 million for the company, and since 2015, Indivior has spent $45,457 on lobbying in Vermont.

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