According to the Centers for Disease Control, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, and opioid overdoses have been increasing since 1999, in excess of 700,000 overdoses. The opioid epidemic has also sparked a flood of litigation: cities, counties, states and Indian nations are suing manufacturers and retailers to take responsibility for a public health crisis.
And a recent Oklahoma court ruling has pushed negotiations on all opioid-related lawsuits at one go.
One state, one family, thousands of claims
A federal judge has directed Johnson & Johnson to pay Oklahoma $ 572 million for its role in triggering the state's opioid crisis. In other settlements with the state of Sooner, Purdue Pharma (the manufacturer of OxyContin) agreed to pay $ 270 million, and drug maker Teva agreed to pay an additional $ 85 million. Now NPR reports that these companies, along with Endo International and Allergan, are trying to resolve around 2,000 additional lawsuits that have been consolidated before another federal court in Ohio.
Preliminary reports suggest that Purdue Pharma, run by the Sackler secret family, could pay up to $ 12 billion to settle all claims against them, and that the family may receive $ 3 billion of their own Pays money and gives up ownership of the company. "For years, members of the Sackler family have attempted to hide their role in the genesis and exploitation of the opioid epidemic," said Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General. "We owe it to families in Massachusetts and across the country to hold Purdue and the Sacklers accountable, to ensure that the evidence of what they have done is released, and to make them pay for the damage they cause."
The settlement talks would appear to include only state and local governments – "a" negotiating class "of tens of thousands of local governments," said NPR. And who controls the money paid out and who would get how much has yet to be determined. There is also talk of transforming Purdue from a private company into a "trust for the public," which would pass on all profits from the sale of drugs to states, cities, and tribes.
"While Purdue Pharma is ready to vigorously defend itself in the opioid litigation, the company has made it clear that it sees little good from years of wasteful litigation and remedies," the company said in an email to NBC. "People and communities affected by the opioid crisis now need help. Purdue believes that a constructive global solution is the best way to go, and the company is actively working with attorneys general and other plaintiffs to achieve this result."
Opioid lawsuits can be complex, and any claims you have can already be the subject of ongoing litigation. If you have any questions about litigation related to opioids, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for answers.