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Okla. Settles Lawsuit with Major Opioid Maker

Opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma has agreed to pay $270 million to settle a lawsuit with the state of Oklahoma related to effects of the opioid epidemic.

The settlement comes two months before the start of a trial against Purdue and two other pharmaceutical companies, Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, for their role in the state’s opioid crisis. The state claims the three companies understated the benefits and risks of prescription opioids, driving the crisis that has taken a significant health and financial toll. For example, the state claims the crisis has cost its communities millions of dollars in treatment, counseling, and health care and social services for children orphaned by overdoses.

According to the settlement, Purdue will pay $12.5 million to the state on behalf of its affected communities and $60 million to mitigate the state’s litigation costs. Over the next five years, Purdue will contribute $102.5 million to Oklahoma State University’s pain and addiction treatment and research center, as well as $20 million for addiction treatment medicine at the center.

The state’s lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, Teva, and other defendants remains on track for trial on May 28.

To learn more, see America’s Essential Hospitals’ policy brief on legal challenges to opioid companies at the federal, state, and local levels and the implications for essential hospitals.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Kelcie Jimenez is a state policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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