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Opioid Overdoses

Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET

New York state Attorney General Letitia James says the family that owns Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid OxyContin, used Swiss bank accounts to transfer $1 billion from the company to itself.

The allegation, which came in court documents filed late Friday, indicates that the Sackler family is trying to keep its wealth free from potential liability in other court cases involving Purdue Pharma's role in the opioid crisis.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid drug OxyContin, has reached a tentative deal worth billions of dollars that would resolve thousands of lawsuits brought by municipal and state governments who sued the company for allegedly helping to fuel the opioid crisis.

The pending settlement likely means Purdue will avoid going to trial in the sprawling and complicated case involving some 2,300 local governments across 23 states.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

The family that owns Purdue Pharma, maker of Oxycontin, has agreed to give up "the entire value" of the privately owned firm to settle claims that Purdue played a central role in the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

That's according to a spokesperson for the firm, who detailed the Sackler family's offer in an email sent to NPR on Monday.

"Additionally, the Sacklers have offered $3 billion in cash as part of the global resolution," wrote Josephine Martin, Purdue Pharma's head of corporate affairs and communications.

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Ohio Department of Health officials say the number of fatal drug overdoses declined for the first time since 2009. 

Franklin County Public Health has received a three-year federal grant to enhance and accelerate the community's effort to fight the opiate crisis.

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Republican Ohio Attorney General David Yost is suing to stop upcoming trials seen as test cases for forcing drugmakers to pay for societal damage inflicted by the opioid epidemic.

 

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The family behind the maker of one of the main drugs blamed for the nation’s opioid crisis has reportedly offered 12 billion dollars to settle a federal case in Cleveland. 

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

Confronted with a torrent of lawsuits across the U.S., several major drug companies are in discussions with authorities to resolve thousands of opioid-related suits filed against them. A government source close to the negotiations tells NPR that Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo International and Allergan are looking to cut deals.

The state has awarded the final round of prizes in its global technology challenge seeking scientific breakthroughs to address the opioid crisis. 

Updated at 7:04 p.m. ET

An Oklahoma judge has ruled that drugmaker Johnson & Johnson helped ignite the state's opioid crisis by deceptively marketing painkillers, and must pay $572 million to the state.

Oklahoma sought $17.5 billion, blaming Johnson & Johnson for fueling the crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people in the state.

Nearly 2,000 cities, towns and counties across America are currently participating in a massive multidistrict civil lawsuit against the opioid industry for damages related to the abuse of prescription pain medication. The defendants in the suit include drug manufacturers like Mallinckrodt, wholesale distributors McKesson and Cardinal Health, and pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens.

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Former Ohio State University President Gordon Gee and former Ohio Governor John Kasich are forming a nonprofit organization that will work to steer money from any national opioid settlement to hospitals and health-based research. 

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Endo Pharmaceuticals says it has reached a settlement in its claims with the first two Ohio counties set to go to trial in the national opioid lawsuit. 

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The Franklin County Coroner's Office has issued a warning after a spike in drug overdose deaths. 

Dublin-based Cardinal Health is among three opioid distributors offering to pay 10 billion dollars to settle lawsuits filed by state and local governments over their alleged role in the nation's opioid crisis. 

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says evidence made public over the past two weeks makes clear that drugmakers were responsible for the U.S. opioid crisis. 

Good news came out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday: Preliminary data shows reported drug overdoses declined 4.2% in 2018, after rising precipitously for decades.

Updated at 10:44 p.m. ET

For the first time, a federal court in Ohio is releasing a trove of data that offers far more detail about the size and scope of the nation's opioid epidemic — and about the role played by drug companies and pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Johnson & Johnson that profited from the rapid growth of prescription opioid sales.

The Franklin County Cornor's office says  six drug overdose deaths were reported Monday, following three reported over the weekend.  

An increase in drug overdoses in recent days prompted the Columbus and Franklin County Public Health departments to issue an “overdose advisory” Wednesday.   

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The Franklin County Coroner says the number of fatal drug overdoses during the first three months of the year are up 8 percent from the same period last year. 

An Israel-based pharmaceutical company has agreed to an $85 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma over its alleged role in fueling the opioid crisis.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter had accused Teva Pharmaceuticals of creating a public nuisance through its production and marketing of opioids. In a statement announcing the settlement, Teva said the agreement "does not establish any wrongdoing on the part of the company." Teva also said it "has not contributed to the abuse of opioids in Oklahoma in any way."

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The Franklin County Coroner's office is reporting another spike in drug overdose deaths. 

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A  committee has recommended adding anxiety and autism spectrum disorder as qualifying conditions for purchasing and using medical marijuana. 

The Franklin County Coroner’s office says preliminary overdose death statistics for 2018 show little change from the previous year. 

A new poll by NPR and Ipsos finds a third of Americans have been touched directly by the deadly opioid epidemic that still kills more than 100 people every day. "One in three have been personally affected in some way, either by knowing someone who has overdosed or by knowing someone with an opioid addiction," said Mallory Newall, lead Ipsos researcher on the survey.

A major pharmaceutical distribution company and two of its former executives are facing criminal charges for their roles in advancing the nation's opioid crisis and profiting from it.

Updated at 3:20 p.m.

The first of more than 1,600 lawsuits pending against Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid OxyContin, has been settled.

The drugmaker has agreed to pay $270 million to fund addiction research and treatment in Oklahoma and pay legal fees.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed suit two years ago alleging Purdue helped ignite the opioid crisis with aggressive marketing of the blockbuster drug OxyContin and deceptive claims that downplayed the dangers of addiction.

Men are dying after opioid overdoses at nearly three times the rate of women in the United States. Overdose deaths are increasing faster among black and Latino Americans than among whites. And there's an especially steep rise in the number of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose death certificates include some version of the drug fentanyl.

America's big drugmakers and pharmacy chains are scrambling to respond to hundreds of lawsuits tied to the deadly opioid epidemic. Billions of dollars are at stake if the companies are found liable for fueling the crisis.

Even before judgments are rendered, companies like Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and CVS are already suffering damage to their reputations as evidence in civil suits reveals more about their internal workings.

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