Thursday, February 1, 2007
In a marked departure from its successful but expensive strategy of defending each case individually and vigorously at trial, Purdue Pharma last week settled over one thousand OxyContin lawsuits, according to articles in the Stamford Advocate and Staten Island Advance. The Jan. 27 article in the Stamford Advocate -- Purdue Settles 90% of Pending OxyContin Cases -- reports that the company decided it was able to settle on advantageous terms:
Stamford-based drugmaker Purdue Pharma said yesterday it has settled more than 1,000 lawsuits related to its controversial painkiller OxyContin.
Up to now, Purdue said it had resolved every suit claiming injury from OxyContin in its favor, either through dismissal or the plaintiff's withdrawal from the case. The company will not say if its settlement of approximately 90 percent of 1,374 outstanding cases in 10 jurisdictions around the country involved any payment to the plaintiffs.
"We have reached the point that it makes economic sense to resolve these cases under the terms we've been able to realize because of our past success in this litigation," Purdue spokesman Timothy Bannon said. ...
Many of the OxyContin suits had been brought by persons claiming to have become addicted to the drug or suffered an overdose, or from families of those who had died from an overdose. None of those claims had succeeded against Purdue, which held that people who illegally obtained or abused OxyContin were responsible for any injuries they suffered.
The Jan. 27 article in the Staten Island Advance (the litigation was of special interest to Staten Islanders because the New York state court cases were being handled by Judge Maltese on Staten Island) -- Oxycontin Maker Settles Suit for $75M -- cites unidentified "sources" for the $75 million settlement amount, and adds information about the number of claims involved:
Neither the plaintiffs' lawyers nor Purdue Pharma revealed settlement details, but sources put the total package at $75 million. ... The agreements affect all 1,117 actions brought here, including 924 plaintiffs who live outside New York, plus several hundred other lawsuits brought in various courts around the country. Prior to the agreement, there had been 1,374 active cases against Purdue Pharma, a company spokesman said.