OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma agrees to settle $20 billion Oklahoma opioid case

Oklahoma officials to announce settlement in opioid case

More than 2 million Americans now suffer from an opioid use disorder, according to government data.

The company is facing a wave of lawsuits and there was speculation recently that it was exploring filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would automatically put all litigation on hold.

They have often compared the cases against Purdue to widespread lawsuits against the tobacco industry that resulted in a $246 billion settlement in 1998.

Sandy Coats, an attorney for Bridgeport, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

A consultant's report that Oklahoma filed in court estimated that abating the opioid crisis in that state would cost more than $8.7 billion during the next 20 years.

The announcement comes as the state of Oklahoma announced Tuesday that it has settled a closely watched lawsuit with Purdue Pharma two months before the case was set to go to trial. "Hopefully, this is the first of many".

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Opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl, were involved in a record 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And while it might sound like serious money, it is in fact barely noticeable in light of the drug's profit to its pushers: OxyContin has made Purdue and the Sacklers over $35 billion during its last 20 years on the market.

Purdue and three executives in 2007 pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the misbranding of OxyContin and agreed to pay a total of $634.5 million in penalties. Several states have filed similar lawsuits, but Oklahoma's is expected to be the first to go to trial.

She said the company was probably also in talks with others to settle.

Under the terms of the settlement, Purdue will contribute $102.5 million to establish the new addiction center, and members of the Sackler family, who own the company, will pay another $75 million in personal funds over five years, people familiar with the agreement said. "That's blood money from our children".

A trial judge earlier this month rejected the companies' efforts to delay the trial. Hunter sued 13 opioid manufacturers in 2017, alleging they fraudulently engaged in marketing campaigns that led to thousands of overdose addictions and deaths. But in the past few weeks, the Tate museums in London and the Guggenheim Museum in NY have cut ties with the family, and other institutions have come under pressure to turn down donations or remove the Sackler name. In the past few weeks, as the accusations have mounted, the Tate museums in London and the Guggenheim Museum in NY have cut ties with the family, and other institutions have come under pressure to turn down donations or remove the Sackler name. A MA court filing made public earlier this year found that family members were paid at least $4 billion from 2007 until last year.

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