Oregon AG: $ 329 million “immediate” deal with cities and counties for opioid settlement

SALEM, Oregon (KTVZ) – Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced an upcoming agreement with Oregon cities and counties on Monday to allocate Oregon’s share of approximately $ 329 million in a historic national settlement of $ 26 billion US dollars with the three largest distributors of opioids (McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health) and the drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

“These companies fueled the opioid crisis that continues to plague Oregon families and communities,” Rosenblum said in her announcement, which continues below.

The deal has yet to be approved by Oregon’s city councils and district committees to become final. In order for Oregon to receive its full stake in the national opioid settlement announced last July, state and all counties and cities are required to participate.

The Oregon Department of Justice played a significant role in negotiating the national settlement. Oregon has long been a pioneer in holding those responsible for the opioid crisis accountable. For the past 15 years, the DOJ’s legal team, headed by Sr. Assistant Attorney General David Hart, has led the way in major multi-state litigation and settlements involving the pharmaceutical industry.

As part of the agreement (which has yet to be finalized), 45% of Oregon’s share of the settlement funds will go to a “prevention, treatment and recovery fund” overseen by a body made up of health policy experts and an equal representation of state governments and local authorities is made up of governments.

A portion of this funding will be used to develop a unified and evidence-based government system for collecting, analyzing, and publishing data on the availability and effectiveness of substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery services across the state. Funds will also be used for the treatment and prevention of substance use disorder across Oregon, with an emphasis on statewide and regional programs and services.

The remaining 55% of Oregon’s share of the settlement funds will go directly to Oregon cities and counties to fund prevention, treatment and recovery services at the local level.

“The national agreement – reached after several years of careful negotiations between attorneys general and representatives from major manufacturers and distributors in the pharmaceutical industry – is incredibly important to Oregon. Every dollar we receive must be used judiciously. First of all, it will give us the opportunity to improve access to life-saving treatment and recovery services and to support individuals and families who continue to have substance use disorder, ”said Rosenblum.

“I would like to thank the leaders of Oregon counties and cities for partnering with us over the past year to maximize Oregon’s share of the national settlement and raise money for those who need it most,” added Rosenblum. “We can and must put an end to the daily tragedies in our state as a direct result of untreated addictions, including alcohol and drugs.”

Highlights of the DOJ’s Role in Opioid Litigation

Purdue Pharma

In 2007, the Oregon DOJ joined 25 other states to resolve the first multi-state lawsuit involving Purdue Pharma. In 2018, the Oregon DOJ re-sued Purdue for violating the 2007 agreement, misleading marketing of OxyContin to Oregon seniors, and misrepresenting the drug’s risks.

In May 2019, Oregon became one of the first states to sued the owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family. Later in 2019, AG Rosenblum sued the Sacklers again, asserting their personal responsibility for the fraudulent and illegal advertising for OxyContin. Last week, a federal judge ruled in Oregon’s favor by rejecting Purdue’s bankruptcy plan, which would have prevented states from continuing their lawsuits against the Sacklers.

Insys Therapeutics

In 2015, Oregon became the first state to investigate and compare Insys Therapeutics with Insys Therapeutics for its illegal advertising of Subsys, a potent narcotic fentanyl typically used for end-stage cancer pain. The 1.1 million settlement helped increase the availability of naloxone (to reverse an overdose), treat an opioid use disorder, and train prescribers to reduce prescriptions for prescription opioids.

Endo International

In 2016, Oregon opened an investigation against Endo International, a pharmaceutical company that sold Opana, an extended-release opioid like OxyContin. Last month, AG Rosenblum sued Endo for aggressive advertising of the dangerous drug, which is no longer on the market. The proceedings are ongoing.

McKinsey & Company

AG Rosenblum was also a leader in the multi-state group that joined McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s largest consulting firms, for its role in helping opioid manufacturers promote opioids. In February 2021, the group, including Oregon, reached a $ 573 million settlement, with Oregon receiving nearly $ 8 million.

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