Is tentative opioid settlement with Purdue Pharma enough?

Is tentative opioid settlement with Purdue Pharma enough?

Attorneys representing some 2,000 local governments say they have agreed to a tentative settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma over the toll of the nation's opioid crisis.

Details of the deal ⁠- like how the money will be divvied up - are still being worked out.

A handful of attorney generals said the agreement will ensure the compensation will come from Purdue and the Sackler family rather than through bankruptcy, should the pharmaceutical company choose to file. It would then be converted into a public trust focused on combating the opioid epidemic.

The tentative deal would relaunch the Purdue company under non-Sackler ownership. A new company will form and will continue to sell OxyContin.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing - with a deal many states oppose - risks triggering even more litigation and longer, more expensive bankruptcy proceedings that could reduce payouts to plaintiffs unless a broader deal is reached.

Late Wednesday, in a separate ruling, the judge presiding over that case approved a dramatic expansion of the number of communities that could benefit from future class action suit leveled against drug makers. About half the states and thousands of local governments are involved in the settlement talks.

Numerous details coming out Wednesday mirror previous news of the settlement talks that came to light last month.

The current terms of the agreement are reportedly not severe enough for several other prosecutors, however, who viewed the deal as being too lenient on the Sacklers, who built a multi-billion dollar enterprise on distributing OxyContin.

New York Attorney General Letitia James accused the Sacklers of "attempting to evade responsibility and lowball the millions of victims of the opioid crisis".

Others attorneys general from such states as CT and North Carolina echoed this criticism.

In Canada, the British Columbia government launched a lawsuit in 2018 against dozens of players in the opioid industry for their role in an overdose crisis that has devastated communities across the country.

"Our position remains firm and unchanged and nothing for us has changed today", Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement.

"The scope and scale of the pain, death and destruction that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused far exceeds anything that has been offered thus far", Tong said.

Yost of OH acknowledge that there is a camp of discontent attorneys general who may never be satisfied with the settlement. "But we're working on it". Purdue promoted OxyContin in North America as safer and less addictive than other opioids, encouraging doctors to prescribe the drug more widely for everything from back pain to fibromyalgia.

Purdue argued the U.S. regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, had approved labels for OxyContin that had warnings about the risks. They say the company's aggressive marketing of OxyContin downplayed addiction risks and led to more widespread opioid prescribing, even though only a sliver of the opioid painkillers sold in the US were its products.



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