Reuters: OxyContin Maker Purdue Reaches $270 Million Settlement

The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed August 21, 2001 at a Walgreens drugstore in Brookline, MA. The powerful painkiller, manufactured to relieve the pain of seriously ill people, is being used by some addicts to achieve a high similar to a heroin rush. Its popularity among abusers of the drug …
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Purdue has reportedly settled a lawsuit by the state of Oklahoma which accused them of fueling the opioid abuse epidemic.

On Tuesday, “people familiar with the matter” told Reuters that Purdue Pharma LP — and the Sackler family who owns it — would pay more than a quarter billion dollars to the state of Oklahoma for deceptive marketing of their painkillers.

This settlement only concludes the first of roughly 2,000 lawsuits nationwide. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter accused Purdue, Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd of pushing the benefits of their opioids while obscuring the dangerous side effects that come with them.

And while it might sound like serious money, it is in fact barely noticeable in light of the drug’s profit to its pushers: OxyContin has made Purdue and the Sacklers over $35 billion during its last 20 years on the market. The state had sought more than $20 billion in restitution.

Purdue will contribute $102.5 million to help fund an addiction treatment center at Oklahoma State University, while the Sackler family will offer $75 million. The remaining money will go to cover the costs associated with the lawsuit. Purdue is now pursuing bankruptcy to try and slip other potential liabilities in nationwide litigations.

Though Purdue has accepted this relatively minimal defeat, suits against Johnson & Johnson and Teva will continue. Still, the settlement could be a sign of the end. “This may be the start of the dominoes falling for Purdue,” said University of Connecticut School of Law professor Alexandra Lahav.


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