PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A judge is considering whether a civil trial involving the maker of OxyContin should be moved away from Pikeville.
The lawsuit filed by Kentucky Attorney General against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma alleges that the company misled health care providers, consumers and government officials regarding the risk of addiction associated with OxyContin. Conway is seeking reimbursement of money spent on law enforcement, drug treatment programs and Medicaid prescriptions.
The Appalachian News Express (http://bit.ly/1f6XRKo) reports Circuit Judge Steve Combs heard arguments during a hearing in Pikeville last week over whether the trial should be moved.
Attorneys for Purdue Pharma said it would be impossible to seat an impartial jury there and asked that the proceedings be moved to central Kentucky.
Dr. David Graeven, a paid consultant for Purdue Pharma, testified Friday that his company conducted a survey of potential jurors in Pike and nearby counties and found a "perfect storm" of public opinion against the company.
"Picking a jury in this case would require hundreds of jurors," he said.
Purdue Pharma attorney John Famularo noted the research in asking that the trial be moved to Lexington or Frankfort.
"The people of Pike County and Eastern Kentucky have personally lived this experience for 12 years," he said. "It's not just that they've read it in the paper. It's not just that they've talked about it in the schools and their churches and on the streets. It's that they have personally lived it. And by that, I mean that they have seen children, neighbors and friends become addicted and die."
Famularo said he didn't think jurors could be fair even if they tried.
"If one really uses common sense and asks themselves could someone come in and say, 'I'm not really biased, and I can be fair when I've stood over the casket of a friend's child,' I'm not sure they could," Famularo said.
The attorney general's office said the trial should remain in Pikeville, and offered testimony from Dr Neil Joseph Vidmar, who said Graeven's survey wasn't valid. He said the research was done in a way to get negative responses.
"It's biased," Vidmar said. "It's the equivalent of a leading question."
Combs did not indicate when he would rule in the matter.
Information from: Appalachian News-Express, http://www.news-expressky.com