Opioid Settlement Could Aid County
Milwaukee suit seeks settlement to repay county’s costs from opioid crisis, can cite Purdue Pharma case.
“Under a novel plan to relinquish control of their company, Purdue Pharma, and resurrect it as a trust whose main purpose would be to combat the opioid epidemic, the Sacklers could raise most, if not all, of their personal share of the $10 billion to $12 billion agreement by selling their international drug conglomerate, Mundipharma,” The Washington Post reports.
There are pending actions against more than 15 companies, including Purdue, as part of a multi-district litigation (MDL) process. Milwaukee County filed it’s own lawsuit as part of the MDL, aiming to use settlements to repay damages caused by the opioid crisis. “There’s thousands of plaintiffs, multiple defendants,” says Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel Margaret Daun.
The Oklahoma case only sought damages for a single year. “Our proof of damages would be more robust and cover many years.” Daun said. “The court found that Johnson & Johnson (through subsidiaries) supplied the active ingredient for 60% of the entire opioid market, a factual finding.” She told Wisconsin Examiner, “this is a big ruling because it puts Johnson & Johnson in the crosshairs in all other lawsuits.”
News about the pending Purdue settlement, under which the Sackler family would keep much of their personal fortune, will cause plaintiffs in the MDL to push forward their claims in case the company declares bankruptcy, Daun said. “Purdue Pharma was a major culprit in the creation of this epidemic,” Daun added. “It does not have the capacity to pay all of the legal claims. We are in active negations with Purdue and the Sackler family to obtain the best result possible for Milwaukee County before bankruptcy is filed.”
Drug Enforcement Administration data shows that from 2006 to 2012, over a billion prescription pain killers found their way into Wisconsin. According to the Washington Post, over 76 billion pills were distributed nationwide during the same period.
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
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Read more about Opioid Crisis here