OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma to Pay $270 Million Legal Settlement

AMY GOODMAN: The state of Oklahoma has reached a $270 million agreement with Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, settling a lawsuit that claimed the company contributed to the deaths of thousands of Oklahoma residents by downplaying the risk of opioid addiction and overstating the drug’s benefits. Oklahoma says more Oklahomans have died from opioids over the last decade than have been killed in vehicle accidents. More than $100 million from the settlement will fund a new addiction treatment and research center at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa. This is Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announcing the agreement Wednesday.

ATTORNEY GENERAL MIKE HUNTER: It is a new day in Oklahoma and for the nation in our battle against addiction and the opioid epidemic. … The endowment will establish a foundation that will receive an initial $102.5 million that will go specifically to the OSU Center for Health Sciences Center for Wellness & Recovery. And beginning on January 1 of next year, the foundation will receive an annual $15 million payment over a 5-year period. And during that same 5-year timeframe, it will receive ongoing contributions of addiction, treatment medicine, both for rescue and recovery, and that has a market value of $20 million. So, $4 million in rescue and treatment drugs over a 5-year period. Another 12-and-a-half million from the settlement has been set aside to providing funds that will directly abate and address the opioid epidemic’s effects in Oklahoma’s towns, cities and counties. Purdue will also make a $60 million payment to offset all of the state’s litigation costs to this point.

AMY GOODMAN: Purdue is one of several firms named in the lawsuit that alleges pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical knowingly helped create the opioid crisis. The trial for the other companies is still on track for May 28th. This is the first settlement Purdue has made amid some 2,000 additional lawsuits connecting its painkiller…

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