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OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma May Pay Billions to Settle Opioid Epidemic Lawsuits

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The maker of the powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin is reportedly looking to settle thousands of lawsuits related to the opioid epidemic.

The Stamford, a Connecticut-based company called Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, reportedly are offering $10-12 billion to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits with state and local governments.

The suits argue Purdue Pharma's aggressive marketing campaign helped fuel an opioid crisis that led to drug addictions that kill tens of thousands of Americans every year.

In a deposition recently made public, former Chairman and President Dr. Richard Sackler confirmed the power of OxyContin, but denied the marketing campaign was misleading.

When asked if OxyContin is more powerful or less powerful than morphine, he replied, "It depends what you mean by powerful. If powerful means potency, absolutely. It is twice as potent as morphine." 

"There is no way that this intended or had the effect of causing physicians to overlook the fact that it was twice as potent. It was called out in virtually every promotional piece of literature," Sackler argued.

The company says it sees little good in years of litigation, so there are reports that settlement efforts have escalated.
The rumored settlement would bankrupt Purdue Pharma, and the Sackler family would give up ownership as part of the reorganization.

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