For OxyContin Maker: $270M Settlement, Potential Bankruptcy

Purdue Pharma settles suit with Oklahoma for $270M
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2019 10:57 AM CDT
OxyContin Maker to Pay Up Big in Opioid Lawsuit
Family and friends who have lost loved ones to opioid overdoses protest outside Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Conn., on Aug. 17, 2018.   (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

The maker of OxyContin has agreed to pay $270 million to resolve claims in Oklahoma that it helped fuel the opioid crisis and thereby contributed to thousands of overdose deaths, multiple news outlets are reporting. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, who sued 13 opioid manufacturers for promoting opioids as safe for extended use, is expected to announce the settlement with Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, at a Tuesday press conference in Tulsa, reports CNN. It comes a day after the state's Supreme Court refused a request by Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva Pharmaceuticals to delay an upcoming trial for 100 days. Per NBC News, charges that Purdue deceptively marketed OxyContin deceptively would've been "on full display" in a televised trial beginning May 28. The company faces 2,000 lawsuits nationwide.

The settlement means "the public will not hear a full recounting of Purdue's actions … including testimony by the Sackler family," per the New York Times. It notes more than $100 million of the settlement will help fund a new addiction treatment and research center at Oklahoma State University, while the Sacklers will contribute another $75 million to the center over five years. The family, one of America's wealthiest, wasn't named in the suit. However, Massachusetts' attorney general has accused exec Richard Sackler of pushing sales reps to persuade doctors to prescribe the highest dosage of OxyContin so as to maximize profits. Oklahoma was seeking more than $20 billion in damages, per Reuters, which reports that a bankruptcy filing by Purdue could be on the horizon. (More opioids stories.)

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