Vermont to take legal action against opioid makers

Purdue Pharma

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The lawsuit accused Purdue Pharma and some members of the Sackler family of contributing to the opioid crisis.

Of roughly 2,000 lawsuits nationally, more than 1,600 are in federal court and the rest are in state courts. Of more than 3,000 Oklahomans admitted to hospitals previous year for drug overdoses that they survived, 80 percent involved prescription opioids, he said.

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. But this is the first settlement to come out of the surge of litigation that focuses largely on the company's more recent conduct.

"Purdue is very pleased to have reached an agreement with Oklahoma that will help those who are battling addiction now and in the future", said Dr. Craig Landau, CEO of Purdue Pharma. Purdue will likely attempt to finalise any decisions related to a settlement and a bankruptcy filing before that court date, an individual familiar with the matter told Reuters.

And while it might sound like serious money, it is in fact barely noticeable in light of the drug's profit to its pushers: OxyContin has made Purdue and the Sacklers over $35 billion during its last 20 years on the market.

According to a lawsuit filed by the state of Massachusetts, Sackler family members received almost $4.3 billion in payouts from Purdue between 2008 and 2016.

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Cheryl Juaire, whose 23-year-old son Corey died of an overdose in 2011, said she was devastated to hear about the settlement. "In the coming weeks, the team and I will continue preparing for the trial 24/7, where we intend to hold the other defendants in this case accountable for their role in creating the worst public health crisis our state and nation has ever seen".

However, a number of major galleries recently announced that they would not accept donations from the family, including the Tate in the United Kingdom and the Guggenheim in NY.

Oklahoma sued Purdue Pharma and several other opioid manufacturers in 2017, accusing them of fraudulent marketing practices that led to thousands of overdoses and deaths.

As accusations have mounted about the company's sales strategies, the family that owns the firms, the Sacklers, have also faced personal lawsuits and growing public pressure. Court documents filed in MA show the Sacklers made more than $4 billion on opioid sales between 2008 and 2016.

The Sacklers are major philanthropists, and the family name is emblazoned on the walls at numerous world's great museums and universities.

The company is facing a wave of lawsuits and there was speculation recently that it was exploring filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would automatically put all litigation on hold. But in the past few weeks, the Tate museums in London and the Guggenheim Museum in NY have cut ties with the family, and other institutions have come under pressure to turn down donations or remove the Sackler name.

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