Opioid

Purdue Pharma, Oklahoma Reach Settlement, Praised by AG Slatery

Oklahoma has reached a landmark settlement with Purdue Pharma regarding its role in the opioid crisis, The Washington Post reports. This is the first such settlement in the more than 1,600 lawsuits faced by the drug maker, including the case in Tennessee where Knox County Circuit Court Judge Kristi M. Davis struck down Purdue’s motion for dismissal. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery released a statement praising the action and reaffirmed the state’s commitment to holding Purdue and other manufacturers accountable for possible violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. In the Oklahoma settlement, Purdue will pay $102.5 million to establish a new foundation for addiction treatment and research, provide $20 million worth of treatment drugs and cover about $60 million in litigation costs.
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Knox Co. Judge Rejects Purdue Pharma Request to Dismiss Opioid Lawsuit

Knox County Circuit Judge Kristi Davis rejected a motion by Purdue Pharma to dismiss a lawsuit filed last year by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III on behalf of taxpayers accusing the company of playing an integral role in the state’s opioid epidemic, The Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Purdue maintains that it has no liability regarding the epidemic, saying the drug which sparked the lawsuit, Oxycontin, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration and that it complied with all FDA labeling requirements. Davis ruled the state isn’t suing Purdue for labeling and selling the drug as authorized by the FDA, stating in her opinion “the court finds that Purdue’s argument is based upon a mischaracterization of the state’s complaint, which is not grounded in the content of the medication labels but rather the conduct of Purdue and its pharmaceutical sales representatives.” Purdue maintains the blame falls solely on opioid addicts and over-prescribing doctors, not its drug.

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Tennessee Reports Record Number of Overdose Deaths for 2017

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) released data last Monday that shows 1,776 Tennesseans died from drug overdoses in 2017 — the highest one-year number since reporting began — the Johnson City Free Press reports. In fact, more Tennesseans died last year from drug overdoses than from automobile crashes, according to a press release on the TDH website. Almost three-fourths of drug overdose deaths in Tennessee in 2017 were associated with prescription opioids. 

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Unsealed Documents Shed Light on State's Opioid Lawsuit

Documents regarding a lawsuit filed in Knox County Circuit Court, where Tennessee accuses Purdue Pharma of intentionally fueling the opioid epidemic, were unsealed last week shedding light on the state’s claim that the company intentionally and specifically targeted Tennessee’s most vulnerable medical providers and patients, including the elderly and veterans, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel. The lawsuit, filed by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, uses Purdue’s company records and its staffers’ own words to show the firm’s founders and executives pushed the prescription of highly addictive opioids, allegedly calling the pills “hope in a bottle.” You can view the complaint here.

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Anti-Opioid Bill Passes First Votes in Legislature

A bill that would establish some of the toughest rules on opioid prescriptions in the country got its first committee endorsements in the House and Senate this week, WPLN reports. The law limits doctors to prescribing three days worth of medication for most patients, but for those prescriptions, doctors would not be required to run a patient’s name through the state’s controlled substance monitoring database.

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