Purdue Pharma will pay $270 million to settle with the state of Oklahoma over allegations that the drugmaker used illicit techniques to market its painkiller OxyContin, believed by many experts to be a catalyst for the opioid epidemic plaguing the U.S.
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The update, announced Tuesday afternoon by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, comes months before the start of a trial that will also examine whether other companies -- including Johnson & Johnson -- also engaged in illegal marketing tactics to push treatments with addictive properties.
“Purdue has a long history of working to address the problem of prescription opioid abuse and diversion,” CEO Craig Landau said in a statement. “We see this agreement with Oklahoma as an extension of our commitment to help drive solutions to the opioid addiction crisis."
The Stamford, Connecticut-based company is still facing over 1,600 lawsuits related to its role in the opioid epidemic and is reportedly considering filing for bankruptcy to help settle the suits.
As part of the settlement, Purdue will contribute $102.5 million to fund the creation of a new National Center for Addiction Studies at Oklahoma State University, as well as donate $20 million worth of medicine to help aid in the center's goal to improve the lives of those "affected by pain and substance use disorders."
The Sackler family, which owns Purdue, will also conitribute $75 million over five years to the project.
On top of the new center, the company will pay a $72.5 million fine -- a portion of which will be directed toward areas in the state that are battling the opioid epidemic.