Purdue Pharma Settles With Oklahoma in Major Opioid Crisis Lawsuit

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo


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Drug maker Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family who owns the company reached a $270 million settlement Tuesday with the state of Oklahoma over the prescription painkiller OxyContin’s role in the opioid crisis. About $200 million of the money will help create the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa, while $12.5 million will go to local governments. Oklahoma’s lawsuit was set to go to trial in May, after the state Supreme Court on Monday denied opioid manufacturers’ request for a delay. A settlement came so quickly after that ruling because the state had been exploring “multiple vectors” with Purdue Pharma, as the company was already considering bankruptcy, said Mike Hunter, Oklahoma attorney general, during a Tuesday press conference.“Today’s agreement is only the first step in our goal of ending this nightmarish epidemic,” Hunter said.The state attorney general said the government is “ready to go to trial” against other drug makers like Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries “who we believe are responsible for creating this public health crisis.” Attorney Paul Henly, who is representing other governments in a wave of cases being brought against drug companies over the opioid epidemic, said “hopefully, this is the first of many [settlements],” according to The Associated Press. But some activists and family members of people who have died of overdoses objected to the settlement, saying they wanted their day in court. [AP; New York Times]

DREAMERS BY STATE | An estimated 2.5 million immigrants—primarily from California, Texas and New York—would become permanently protected, if the new American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 is passed, according to a Center for American Progress analysis. The bill introduced by Democrats would grant Conditional Permanent Resident, or CPR, status to Dreamers who have lived in the U.S. four years; were under 18 when they arrived; are enrolled in or have completed high school, an equivalent program, or an industry-recognized credential program; and pass a background check. Dreamers are undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S. as children. The Trump administration has moved to roll back protections for them created by the Obama administration, which in turn has spurred lawsuits filed by several states. About 562,500 Dreamers who would be eligible for CPR under the legislation live in California. Montana and Vermont have the fewest eligible Dreamers at less than 500 each.  [Center for American Progress]

ELECTORAL COLLEGE | The “Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis” Facebook group surged by about 10,000 followers to nearly 30,000 members a month after he signed the state’s National Popular Vote bill into law. With the legislation’s passage, Colorado became the 12th state in an interstate compact that, if enough states join, would throw the state’s electoral votes behind the winner of the national popular vote in presidential elections—upending the Electoral College. An official recall of Polis on the next ballot would require about 630,000 signatures in a 60-day span. [The Coloradoan]

STYLE PLANNING | Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s appointment calendar includes 70 attire recommendations for his first six weeks in office, with outfits for occasions as diverse surveying flood damage to a White House dinner. Recommendations ranged from “Business: suit and tie” to “polo with Columbia jacket.” [NBC Chicago]

DRUGS, EH? | A Florida Senate panel advanced a cost-savings bill Monday that would allow the state to import drugs for prisoners and Medicaid recipients from Canada. Gov. Ron DeSantis supports the measure—to the dismay of pharmaceutical lobbyists—although the Senate Health Policy Committee’s version would only allow the state, not Floridians, to make purchases. [Orlando Weekly]

CITIZEN SNUB | Video of a Seattle man attempting to bring a potential pedestrian safety problem to the attention of the Seattle City Council went viral in recent days, as council members appeared to not be paying attention to the speaker during a public comment period. Mayor Jenny Durkan and Council Member Lorena González reached out to the complainant after the meeting to express their regret and say they would look into the safety issue. [MyNorthwest.com]

EMAIL FAIL | Outlook, MSN and Hotmail are among the email providers that blocked Oregon state employees’ emails after an outside party launched a spam email campaign from a hacked account. [AP via Statesman Journal]

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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