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The Latest: OxyContin maker says lawsuit aims to 'vilify'

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on a New York lawsuit against opioid drug companies (all times local): Noon The company and family behind the creation of OxyContin say New York state's lawsuit against them baselessly blames them for fueling the opioid crisis.

Representatives for Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family spoke out Thursday after Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James expanded an existing case. The lawsuit now includes several family members formerly on the company's board.

The suit argues the Sacklers' and Purdue's aggressive marketing of OxyContin, beginning in the mid-1990s, led to overprescribing, addiction and deaths. Purdue says "the state is seeking to publicly vilify" the company and the Sacklers with ill-supported claims about a drug that accounts for under 2 percent of all opioid prescriptions.

The Sackler relatives say in a statement issued through a spokeswoman that they have always acted properly.

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New York is suing the billionaire family behind OxyContin, alleging the drugmaker fueled the opioid crisis by putting hunger for profits over patient safety.

The state on Thursday amended a pending lawsuit against Purdue Pharma to add members of its controlling Sackler family as defendants.

Attorney General Letitia James also expanded the lawsuit to include five other companies that produce opioid painkillers and four distributors.

New York's announcement comes two days after Purdue and the Sacklers agreed to pay $270 million to Oklahoma, the first settlement stemming from a wave of nearly 2,000 lawsuits that the company says could push it into bankruptcy.

New York seeks penalties and damages that could total tens of millions of dollars. It wants the defendants to endow a fund to curb the epidemic.

Purdue has denied any wrongdoing.

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