Nevada given $333 million to fight opioid crisis

The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs has awarded Nevada $333 billion to combat abuse and effectively respond to opioid-related overdoses.

U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada stated that they are thankful for the additional resources to address the opioid crisis within their communities.

Grants will likely go toward emergency services, and other funds will likely be directed toward youth programs, research labs, and opioid-related research.

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Purdue’s Sackler family got $11 billion payout amid bankruptcy

A Purdue Pharma commissioned audit introduced in Monday’s bankruptcy court proceedings outlined that the family has withdrawn $12.2 billion since 2008. Approximately $10.8 of these funds were withdrawn after several company executives pled guilty to promoting misleading marketing tactics to the public.

The Purdue bankruptcy proceeding has been underway since September with around two dozen state attorney generals on board with the company’s settlement proposal. 

The Sackler family has offered $3 billion from their personal fortune to be used in the settlement agreement. 

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The Supreme Court rejects Arizona’s objective to sue Sackler family

The Supreme Court turned down a rare request from Arizona to bypass lower courts and argue their lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, L.P. before the justices themselves.

Though five states filed a brief supporting Arizona, the Court refused the motion in a Monday order.

The Arizona state lawsuit blames Purdue for using deceptive marketing schemes to sell painkillers, and contributing to the severity of the opioid crisis.

Lawyers for Arizona bypassed the lower courts and filed their lawsuit with the Supreme Court, claiming the scope of the opioid epidemic and the wrongful actions of the Sackler family required prompt resolution.


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OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to pay states’ lawyers

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP got court approval on Tuesday to reimburse millions of dollars in legal fees for states that back its proposed $10 billion settlement of opioid lawsuits, but with a condition meant to help victims of the addiction crisis.

Purdue had told Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain at Tuesday’s hearing in White Plains, New York that paying the fees for seven firms that work on behalf of states and local governments would help bring structure to its Chapter 11 case and resolve it quickly.

Drain said he wanted reimbursement of the fees for four law firms, a financial adviser and two economic consultants conditioned on the parties reaching a deal on the quick release of emergency funds for victims.

Purdue proposed a $200 million emergency fund last month that could be spent quickly on addiction treatment while the parties resolve the entire bankruptcy case, a process that will take many months. Purdue has said the money has been tied up by disagreements among states, local governments and others parties over how to spend the funds.

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$260M Settlement Averts First Federal Opioid Trial

Two Ohio counties and four drug companies agreed to a $260 million settlement, averting the first federal opioid trial an hour before opening arguments were scheduled to begin Monday.

  • The deal is between distributors McKesson, AmeriSourceBergen and Cardinal Health, along with Teva Pharmaceuticals, an Israeli manufacturer, and Ohio’s Summit and Cuyahoga counties.
  • The counties will receive $235 million in cash from the four companies and $25 million in anti-addiction medication from Teva.
  • Walgreens was not included, and the New York Times reported it will be going forward with its case.
  • The deal comes as talks for a $50 billion settlement collapsed over the weekend.
  • The drug companies are still contending with over 2,400 claims from across the country, which they hope to end with a wide-ranging settlement.

Almost 400,000 Americans have died in the opioid epidemic over the past two decades. Millions remain addicted, costing local governments millions of dollars and creating enormous strains on law enforcement, health providers and social services. Cities began filing lawsuits against the drug companies in 2014. By 2019, the number of opioid lawsuits ballooned to more than 2,500, with nearly every U.S. state filing separate litigation as well. The total economic toll of the crisis could range from $50 billion to over $1 trillion, according to estimates.

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Judge denies J&J motion to end opioid trial

An ongoing lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for its part in the opioid crisis will continue after the company’s effort to have the case dismissed was denied Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman. He denied a motion to toss the lawsuit, which accuses Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries of creating a public nuisance and costing the state of Oklahoma billions of dollars.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter told the court during proceedings that 4,653 Oklahomans died of unintentional overdoses involving prescription opioids from 2007 to 2017, and that there were more than 28,000 admissions for opioid and heroin treatment through state services from 2012 to 2018.

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