The opioid crisis continues to dominate the public consciousness. The number of accidental deaths related to opioids and the number of people addicted to them have been on the rise. Some believe such accidental deaths are driven by the proliferation of opioid prescriptions. According to The Economist, between 1991 and 2011, opioid prescriptions supplied by retail pharmacies increased from 76 million to 219 million – a 5.4% CAGR. Several state attorneys general believe drug makers have, in certain instances, fraudulently misrepresented the serious side effects of opioid use.
Somebody has to pay for the harm wrought on the public. So far, lawmakers have targeted opioid manufacturers and distributors. Last month Purdue Pharma agreed to a global settlement for $3 billion up front:
How the $3 billion payment will be divvied up among cities, towns and communities across the country remains to be seen. For now, the Sacklers have settled claims against it from thousands of communities. Pursuant to the proposal, future OxyContin sales will go into a trust to help communities suffering from the opioid epidemic.
A bevy of state attorneys general like Letitia James of New York and William Tong of Connecticut are not happy with the settlement. They plan to go after more of the Sacklers’ personal wealth. Whether they will be successful or how long it would take to extract more money from the Sacklers remains to be seen.
This was the first opioid settlement of its kind. Cities, counties and towns across the country agreed to it. McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health are rumored to be in talks for an $18 billion global opioid settlement to be paid out over 18 years. Read more: