Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and 3 other manufacturers of opioid pain medications in 2017. In the filing on behalf of the state, he claimed these companies utilized deceptive marketing campaigns over the previous decade, which helped fuel the state’s opioid epidemic.
Purdue Pharma is settling litigation with the State of Oklahoma for $270 million1-2 and will establish the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Tulsa.2
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and 3 other manufacturers of opioid pain medications in 2017. In the filing on behalf of the state, he claimed these companies utilized deceptive marketing campaigns over the previous decade, which helped fuel the state’s opioid epidemic.3
“The addiction crisis facing our state and nation is a clear and present danger,” Hunter said, in a prepared statement released Tuesday.1 “Last year alone, out of the more than 3,000 Oklahomans admitted to the hospital for a nonfatal overdose, 80% involved a prescription opioid medication. Additionally, nearly 50% of Oklahomans who died from a drug overdose in 2018 were attributed to a pharmaceutical drug. Deploying the money from this settlement immediately allows us to decisively treat addiction illness and save lives.”
According to Hunter, Oklahoma State University leaders and Purdue Pharma, a $200 million endowment will be used for treating the ongoing addiction epidemic that is nationwide.1-2 The company also agreed to not promote opioids in Oklahoma, including employing or contracting with sales representatives to health care providers in Oklahoma.1
“Purdue has a long history of working to address the problem of prescription opioid abuse and diversion,” said Craig Landau, MD, president and CEO, Purdue Pharma, in a prepared statement.1-2 “We see this agreement with Oklahoma as an extension of our commitment to help drive solutions to the opioid addiction crisis, and we pledge Purdue’s ongoing support to the National Center and the life-saving work it will do for generations to come.”
An initial payment of $102.5 million will be made to the endowment, to be utilized by OSU’s Center for Health Sciences Center for Recovery and Wellness for treating pain and addiction, according to the attorney general’s statement.1-2
Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the endowment will receive an annual $15 million payment for the duration of 5 years.1 During the same timeframe, it will receive ongoing contributions of addiction treatment medicine, valued at $20 million.1-2
Launched in November 2017, the OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery provides comprehensive care for those living with addiction, while advancing treatment through education, research, and policy. In 2018, as part of the Center for Wellness and Recovery, OSU launched the Addiction Medicine, which employs the state’s first certified academic addiction physicians. The clinic offers individualized, evidence-based substance use disorder treatment —including medication-assisted treatment when appropriate—and mental health services to adults.1
“The mission of Oklahoma State University’s Center for Wellness and Recovery is to save lives and rescue those who are struggling with addiction,” said OSU Center for Health Sciences President Dr Kayse Shrum, in a prepared statement.1 “This endowment will allow us to assist communities in Oklahoma and across the country that have been ravaged by the opioid epidemic with innovative approaches to addressing this health crisis. Now we will have the resources to create a place where people can come together to engage in meaningful initiatives to prevent, treat and eradicate this horrible disease.”
In addition to the endowment, Purdue Pharma will pay $12.5 million to providing funding for directly abating and addressing the effect of the opioid epidemic on Oklahoma’s cities and counties, and the company will make a $60 million payment to offset all costs up related to the settled litigation.1-2
Purdue Pharma’s Sackler family has also pledged to contribute $75 million over 5 years to the National Center at OSU.2
“We appreciate that Purdue Pharma and its owners chose to work constructively with us to resolve this litigation in a way that will bring to life a new and unique national center with the goal of creating breakthrough innovations in the prevention and treatment of addiction,” said Hunter.
Hunter said the settlement with Purdue Pharma is only the first step in the collective goal of ending the opioid epidemic. The trial against Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals and the other defendants named in the state’s lawsuit is scheduled for May 28, 2019 in Cleveland County District Court.1,3
“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,” said Hunter.