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OxyContin Producers Pressured To Pay Billions To Settle Opioid Lawsuits

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and fellow pharmaceutical companies are all looking to make billion-dollar settlement deals over their role in the opioid epidemic.

Reuters was able to independently verify an NBC report regarding Purdue Pharma LP, the makers of OxyContin, offering to settle approximately 2,000 opioid lawsuits around the United States for around $10 billion to $12 billion. Reuters verified the report by speaking with two individuals close to the situation agreeing to speak to the outlet on deep background.

The news comes shortly after an Oklahoma judge ruled Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million in a precedent-setting decision earlier in the week.

The Lawsuit Against Purdue Pharma

“The lawsuits have accused the Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma of aggressively marketing prescription opioids while misleading prescribers and consumers about risks from their prolonged use. Purdue and the Sacklers [owners of Purdue Pharma LP] have denied the allegations,” said Reuters in their report.

The settlement could ultimately change the way pharmaceutical companies do business within the United States, “Representatives for Purdue and the Sackler family held discussions with cities, counties and states on the contours of the potential multibillion-dollar settlement last week in Cleveland [Ohio], said a person familiar with the matter,” the report continued.

An individual close to the situation told Reuters the deal would lead to Purdue Pharma restructuring into a for-profit “public benefit trust” that would last a decade, with the company contributing approximately $7 billion to $8 billion to said fund. “The money coming from the sales of its drugs, including those that combat opioid overdoses, the person said. Additional payments would come from the company’s cash and insurance policies,” said Reuters source.

According to a NY Times report, the Sackler family would give up ownership of Purdue Pharma and pay $3 billion of their own money as part of the settlement. The Sackler family is also considering selling Mundipharma, another pharmaceutical firm it owns to help pay for the settlement.

NPR Confirms Report With Purdue Pharma LP

“Purdue Pharma has confirmed to NPR [National Public Radio] that global settlement talks are underway that would resolve all claims against the company. Published reports suggest the deal could involve payments of up to $12 billion and a bankruptcy process that would force the Sackler family to give up ownership of the company,” said NPR on Wednesday.

Their report also included information from a governmental source on background who stated pharmaceutical companies Allergan and Endo International were also looking to make settlement deals — along with Johnson & Johnson looking for a similar deal after announcing their will to challenge the Oklahoma ruling in the appellate court. 

In an email released Wednesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey stated she would oppose a confidentiality agreement for the Sackler family. Massachusetts has an open lawsuit against the company.

“For years, members of the Sackler family tried to hide their role in creating and profiting off the opioid epidemic. We owe it to families in Massachusetts and across the country to hold Purdue and the Sacklers accountable, ensure that the evidence of what they did is made public, and make them pay for the damage they have caused,” Healey said in the email.

The lawsuits and pending settlements currently being discussed by large pharmaceutical companies who mass produce opioids may lead to reducing the number of overdoses seen within the United States.

Walter Yeates

Walter Yeates is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter who embedded at Standing Rock with military Veterans and First People in December 2016. He covers a range of topics at Citizen Truth and is open for tips and suggestions. Twitter: www.twitter.com/GentlemansHall or www.twitter.com/SmoothJourno Muckrack: https://muckrack.com/walteryeates

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