"Past year alone, out of the more than 3,000 Oklahomans admitted to the hospital for a non-fatal overdose, 80 percent involved a prescription opioid medication", Hunter said. The province is suing over 40 companies involved in the manufacture, distribution and wholesale of opioids. Critics say it's a missed opportunity, and the provinces should be more aggressive in recouping costs from pharmaceutical companies. But has been hit with close to 2,000 lawsuits from state and local governments trying to hold the company responsible for the scourge of addiction.
Purdue Pharma has settled other lawsuits over the years, and three executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2007. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed the suit against Purdue, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. back in 2017.
Almost 400,000 people in the United States died of opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including a record 47,600 in 2017.
"We applaud Attorney General Hunter for his thoughtful and constructive approach to this agreement, which recognizes the complexity and multiple causes of our nation's addiction epidemic", the Sackler families' statement said. "Additionally, almost 50 percent of Oklahomans who died from a drug overdose in 2018 were attributed to a pharmaceutical drug".
Purdue's settlement with Oklahoma relieves the immediate pressure on the drugmaker for a bankruptcy filing, said Alexandra Lahav, a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Tuesday's settlement was met with optimism from attorneys representing plaintiffs in the federal litigation, which includes the lion's share of the lawsuits against drug companies.
Yost also said talks of bankruptcy also affected Ohio's litigation strategy.
Purdue Pharma agreeing to a settlement that would pay $270 million to the state with $200 million going to the OSU Health Science Center Wellness and Recovery Center.
The firm's legal experts said Purdue's practices-and the fact that the company actively promoted OxyContin, a drug closely associated with the crisis-will put it on the hook for "one of the largest shares of any settlement".
Aside from the state lawsuits, thousands of cities and counties have sued Purdue and other opioid companies.
The move comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied a request from drug makers on Monday to postpone the start of the trial in the case.
Market sources believe that Teva may have to pay at least $300 million in lawsuits for its role in any opioid settlement around the US. Settlements by the companies could "run into the billions", they predict, noting that Oklahoma sought more than $20 billion in damages from 13 opioid companies.
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.
"The agreement reached today will provide assistance to individuals nationwide who desperately need these services - rather than squandering resources on protracted litigation", the family, who were not named in this lawsuit, said.