Across the United States, various state, city and local governments have sued opioid manufacturers, claiming that pharmaceutical companies deliberately misled doctors and patients regarding the safety of opioid products, resulting in the harm of the opioid epidemic.
At least 41 state Attorney Generals banded together to investigate drug makers and distributors, while federal courts oversee more than 200 lawsuits. For years, more and more entities have raised suit against manufacturers, and in a landmark development, Purdue Pharma, the creator of OxyContin, has agreed to pay a $270 million settlement to the state of Oklahoma.
Over $102.5 million will be put towards establishing a national addiction treatment and research center at Oklahoma State University, with additional payments of $15 million a year for five more years. Approximately $12.5 million will be given to local governments within the state, while another $20 million a year for five years will fund addiction treatment and opioid rescue medications.
Though Purdue Pharma has settled, the specific lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma Attorney General involved four drug manufacturers. While Purdue will no longer be brought to trial by the state of Oklahoma, the other three manufacturers will see their case begin on May 28th.
With so many lawsuits in motion across the nation, this development could indicate further settlements to come, potentially impacting opioid manufacturing, distribution and more down the line.