Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Purdue Pharma to Pay $270 Million in Historic Lawsuit

Purdue Pharma has reached a settlement with the State of Oklahoma over claims the maker of the painkiller OxyContin helped fuel an opioid epidemic that killed thousands of residents in the state.  

Of the $270 million, nearly $200 million will go toward establishing the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa, while local governments will receive $12.5 million.  Twenty million dollars will be set aside for addiction treatment medication, and the remaining $60 million will pay for the state's litigation costs to date.

Purdue, the make of OxyContin since 1996, faces more than 1,000 lawsuits in connection with the opioid crisis.  The Oklahoma deal is the first settlement to emerge from the thicket of lawsuits.

Drugs like OxyContin, along with illegal opioids such as heroin, were linked to a record 48,000 deaths across the United States in 2017 according to the CDC.  In Oklahoma, some 400 deaths were related to opioids that year.  According to state figures, more Oklahomans have died from opioids over the last decade than vehicle accidents.

Purdue Pharma is reportedly considering bankruptcy.

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