Purdue Pharma reaches tentative $3B settlement in opioid lawsuits

The Sackler family could give up Purdue Pharma, source says

Purdue inks multibillion-dollar opioid deal with thousands of local governments, 23 states: reports

Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, is at the center of the opioid crisis in America.

Now, more than 20 states appear to have reached a comprehensive settlement against Purdue Pharma, maker of opioid OxyContin. The company, whose OxyContin played a role in the opioid epidemic, plans to file for bankruptcy imminently and restructure under an agreement with 23 states and almost 2,300 cities, counties and tribes, according to the New York Times.

The Associated Press reports that sources with knowledge of the settlement talks say that Purdue Pharma would pay up to $12 billion over time.

It is not known how the parent company's imminent bankruptcy filing will affect lawsuits launched against Purdue in Canada.

The settlement comes weeks before the first federal trial in the opioid litigation is set to begin in Cleveland for claims made by Cuyahoga and Summit counties.

The lawsuits allege the company aggressively marketed the painkiller despite knowing it was addictive.

On Wednesday, Purdue Pharma in Canada reiterated that it is a separate company from its American counterpart.

Purdue's board is scheduled to be briefed on settlement progress on Thursday. The resolution would end nearly all of the cases against Purdue. "I don't think we have critical mass", Yost said.

The provinces aim to recover public-health care costs from pharmaceutical players for their role in an overdose crisis that has killed thousands of Canadians. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly. Experts estimate as many as 400,000 people may have died from overdoses and related problems in the past several decades.

Canada's opioid epidemic traces its roots to the mid-1990s, with the introduction of OxyContin.

Opioids are a group of drugs that range from codeine to illegal drugs like heroin. Canada is the world's second-highest per capita consumer of prescription opioids after the United States. "There is a long road to go and we are ready for this fight and ready go to the distance". At the same time, however, reports of addiction and overdose mounted among those who were prescribed the drug and those who used diverted pills illicitly. Three other drug companies have reached settlements with the counties. Purdue had already settled with the state for $270m earlier this year.

The clock is ticking for Purdue's bankruptcy filing - an October 21 trial in Cleveland federal court risks a verdict of damages so large the company could not withstand the blow, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The settlement follows Purdue's $270 million deal to resolve a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma.

"We're closely following the ever-evolving situation in the United States", said Joel Rochon, a Toronto lawyer who represents the patients.

Last Thursday, Saskatchewan Chief Justice Martel Popescul reserved his decision on whether a new approval hearing should proceed and if so on what terms.

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