Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical giant that makes OxyContin, and its owners, the wealthy Sackler family, are in talks to settle over 2,000 lawsuits aimed at the company for the opioid crisis. Preliminary discussions are in the range of $10 billion to $12 billion.
Which Lawsuits Are Involved?
The 2,000 lawsuits stem from cities, counties, and states that have suffered from the opioid crisis for years. The current suit in which settlement talks are being made is in Ohio. The pharmaceutical company wants to consolidate the lawsuits and have the affected parties decide who gets what in terms of settlement talks.
The lawsuit payouts are part of confidential conversations and discussed by Purdue’s lawyers at a meeting in Cleveland last Tuesday, Aug. 20, according to NBC news.
What Are the Lawsuits About?
The lawsuits point blame to Perdue Pharma and the Sackler family ignoring the harmful prospects of addiction, downplaying the addictiveness of their drug to doctors, and encouraging the doctors to increase prescriptions for their medications. Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical players have been accused of ignoring suspiciously large pill orders, pushing higher titrations, and advocating for the use of opioids for disorders, illnesses, and injuries.
In 2017, over 70,000 deaths were attributed to the opioid epidemic. According to the CDC, “states with statistically significant increases in drug overdose death rates from 2016 to 2017 included Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Virtually no part of the United States has escaped the opioid epidemic unscathed.
2019 has been a year of reckoning in the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to opioids. Johnson and Johnson recently was ordered to pay a whopping $572 million in Oklahoma to settle claims related to the opioid epidemic. Endo International Plc also recently agreed to pay $10 million to avoid going to trial in October in a landmark case in two Ohio counties.