Opioid Makers Purdue Pharma, Sackler Family to Pay $270M in Settlement

Oklahoma officials to announce settlement in opioid case

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma's attorney general will announce a settlement Tuesday with drugmaker Purdue Pharma Inc.in a case that's expected to be the first state lawsuit accusing major drug manufacturers of fueling the opioid epidemic to go to trial.

For example, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, has gotten press for filing a suit in June 2018 alleging Purdue Pharma and Sackler family members misled doctors and patients about the risks of opioids to increase prescriptions.

Then, beginning January 1, 2020, the center will start receiving $15 million a year for five years, for a total of $75 million in additional payments. Other money will go towards, among other things, covering costs stemming from the lawsuit, including legal fees, the source said.

Almost 400,000 people in the United States died of opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including a record 47,600 in 2017.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on the lawsuits against Sackler family-owned Purdue Pharma over the opioid crisis.

A trial judge earlier this month rejected the companies' efforts to delay the trial.

"Purdue is very pleased to have reached an agreement with Oklahoma that will help those who are battling addiction now and in the future", said Dr. Craig Landau, CEO of Purdue Pharma.

A lawyer suing Purdue on behalf of local governments across the country said Tuesday that he welcomes the company's first settlement.

"That suggests that Purdue is serious about trying to deal with the problem", said Paul Hanly, who is not involved in the Oklahoma case but is representing scores of other governments. "Hopefully, this is the first of many".

The first of more than 1,600 lawsuits pending against Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid OxyContin, has been settled.

The 1,600 federal lawsuits were consolidated before a federal judge in OH, who has pushed for a settlement ahead of a trial in October. "We pledge Purdue's ongoing support to the National Center and the life-saving work it will do for generations to come". Hunter said the bankruptcy threat factored into the settlement talks.

But Cheryl Juaire, whose 23-year-old son Corey died of an overdose in 2011, said she was devastated to hear about the settlement. She had been organising a group of hundreds of mothers to go to the first day of the trial and stand outside with photos of their dead children.

But some activists were furious, saying they were denied the chance to hold Purdue Pharma fully accountable in public, in front of a jury.

"They can't settle", she said.

"The agreement reached today will provide assistance to individuals nationwide who desperately need these services - rather than squandering resources on protracted litigation", the Sackler family said in a statement.



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