Health

Indiana announces improved settlement with largest generic opioid manufacturer

Earlier today, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced an update to a global settlement framework agreement between state attorneys general, local subdivisions, and the opioid manufacturer Mallinckrodt (MNK), its subsidiaries and certain other affiliates.

Under the new settlement, MNK, the largest generic opioid manufacturer in the United States, will pay $1.6 billion into a trust that will go toward abating the opioid crisis, including valid claims related to MNK’s role in the opioid crisis raised by non-governmental claimants.

MNK will pay the $1.6 billion according to the following schedule:

  • $450 million upon its emergence from bankruptcy;
  • $200 million annually on first and second anniversaries of its emergence from bankruptcy; and
  • $150 million annually on third through seventh anniversaries of its emergence from bankruptcy.

This updated payment schedule improves the February deal by moving $150 million from the last payment to the first. Since the February settlement, MNK has taken on additional liability due to other legal issues and the impact of COVID-19. As a result, MNK is now putting the entire company into bankruptcy, which requires that the February agreement be renegotiated.

MNK also agrees that its opioid business will be subject to stringent injunctive relief that, among other things, will prevent marketing and ensure systems are in place to prevent drug misuse.

“This is a significant development in our efforts to provide relief to Hoosiers who have been hurt by the unprecedented opioid crisis,” Attorney General Hill said. “Opioid misuse and addiction continues to afflict the people of Indiana, and we will continue to do everything in our power to mitigate the effects of this urgent and tragic public health emergency.”

Details about how much money each state will receive, how the money will be distributed, and how the trust will be administered are still being negotiated.

Attorney General Hill has made investigating and pursuing solutions against bad actors involved in the opioid crisis one of his top priorities. In November 2018, Attorney General Hill filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. The lawsuit alleged that Purdue Pharma intentionally understated the dangerous health risks of long-term opioid use and deceptively marketed their drugs in a way that violated Indiana law.

Attorney General Hill also filed a lawsuit in May 2019 against individual members of the Sackler family, which controlled the majority of Purdue Pharma’s board of directors from 1990 through 2018.

Purdue Pharma declared bankruptcy in September 2019 after an onslaught of lawsuits, including Indiana’s litigation. Indiana is actively involved in the bankruptcy proceeding to ensure that it receives any funds to which it is entitled under the law.

In October 2019, Attorney General Hill filed a lawsuit against three primary distributors of opioids: Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. Attorney General Hill alleged in the lawsuit that the distributors played an integral role in the explosion of the opioid crisis and profited from that role.

“Hoosiers deserve all the help they can get for the consequences they have suffered since the onset of this crisis. I will continue to be there, fighting to ensure Indiana secures the resources it needs,” Attorney General Hill said.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription painkillers and illegal drugs such as heroin. Nationwide, prescription and illegal opioids are the main cause of drug overdose deaths. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, 1,098 Hoosiers died as a result of opioid overdoses in 2018.

More than 47,000 Americans died as a result of opioid overdoses in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Featured photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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