Maker of OxyContin reaches $270M settlement in opioid crisis lawsuit

Oklahoma officials to announce settlement in opioid case

Purdue Pharma agrees to settle OxyContin opioid case with Oklahoma

More than 1,400 federal lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies have been consolidated in front of a single judge in Cleveland who is pushing the drugmakers and distributors to reach a nationwide settlement with state and local governments. Hunter has said the defendants - Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Allergan and others - deceived the public into believing that opioids were safe for extended use.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter in February. State officials have said that since 2009, more Oklahomans have died from opioids than in vehicle crashes.

The companies deny wrongdoing. The AP reports the company will pay a $270 million settlement to the state.

Purdue's recent acknowledgment that it is considering bankruptcy as an option could influence strategy in those lawsuits; Oklahoma's settlement ensures it will receive at least some compensation for its claims.

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Landau refers to a new National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment to be housed a Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.

"It is going to save countless lives, and it's going to keep families together", Hunter said at a news conference.

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

While the company has not ruled out a bankruptcy filing, it now plans to focus on attempting a settlement with other state and local governments pursuing similar cases, a person familiar with Purdue's deliberations said. Oklahoma was the first state set for trial, and court observers have been watching the case closely for precedent.

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However, a number of major galleries recently announced that they would not accept donations from the family, including the Tate in the United Kingdom and the Guggenheim in NY. Purdue is widely blamed for helping to start the epidemic after it introduced the powerful opioid OxyContin to the market in 1996. In 2007, Purdue and three of its executives pleaded guilty to misconduct in their marketing of OxyContin and paid more $600 million in fines. The suit sought more than $20 billion in damages, according to Reuters.

Under the terms of Tuesday's settlement, Purdue will contribute $102.5 million to help fund an addiction treatment center at OSU, and donate $20 million worth of medications to support its treatment mission.

Purdue has held discussions to resolve the litigation with plaintiffs' lawyers, who have often compared the cases to widespread lawsuits against the tobacco industry that resulted in a $246 billion settlement in 1998.

More than $70 million will go to pay Oklahoma cities, counties and tribes and to reimburse the state for its litigation costs.

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Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter sued the three drug companies in June 2017, and the two sides have been taking depositions and jousting over pretrial issues for almost two years.

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