OxyContin maker to settle lawsuit after being accused of fueling opioid crisis

OxyContin maker to settle lawsuit after being accused of fueling opioid crisis

OxyContin maker to settle lawsuit after being accused of fueling opioid crisis

In addition, the House Oversight Committee asked Purdue Pharma on March 21 for documents on Sackler family members' roles in marketing by the company, reported The Wall Street Journal.

More than $100 million from the Oklahoma settlement will go to fund a new addiction treatment and research centre at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.

Purdue Pharma has settled other lawsuits over the years, and three executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2007.

A spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter declined to comment.

Paul Hanly, a lead lawyer for the plaintiffs in the federal opioid litigation, said they are "hopeful that the Oklahoma settlement is the beginning of a good-faith program on the part of Purdue to settle all of the nationwide litigation".

It's the first settlement to be agreed upon from more than 1,600 opioid lawsuits the OxyContin maker faces various from states, cities, and counties. The state has been seeking over $20bn in damages.

Other states have suffered far more than Oklahoma, including West Virginia, with the nation's highest opioid death rate.

The addiction center would be housed at Oklahoma State University's Center for Wellness and Recovery and would be overseen by an independent board.

Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in the 1990s and marketed it aggressively to doctors, making tens of billions of dollars from the drug. The company allegedly persuaded doctors to prescribe - and overprescribe - the drug for a wide variety of ailments.

Purdue is one of several firms named in the claim which alleged they used deceptive practices to sell opioids. Local governments will get $12.5 million. The epidemic has evolved to encompass illicit use of fentanyl, a synthetic ultrapowerful opioid that has caused a spike in overdoses and fatalities. "Last year alone, out of the more than 3,000 Oklahomans admitted to the hospital for a non-fatal overdose, 80 percent involved a prescription opioid medication". In 2017, the White House Council of Economic Advisers placed the price tag much higher, at $504 billion for 2015. State officials have said that since 2009, more Oklahoma residents have died from opioid-related deaths than in vehicle crashes.

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. That ensured that the Oklahoma case would be the first major test of whether the companies would be forced to pay for the crisis.

Jauire, who lives in Marlborough, Massachusetts, 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 the family-owned company has suffered heavy blows to its image in recent months as litigation has advanced. "They cared more about money than about patients, or their employees, or the truth".

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