AG Kaul: $1.6 Billion agreement with Opioid manufacturer

In this July 1, 2013 file photo is the exterior of the Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals office in St. Louis. The generic drugmaker Mallinckrodt has a tentative $1.6 billion deal to settle lawsuits over its role in the U.S. opioid crisis, it announced Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. The deal is intended to end hundreds of lawsuits faced by the company over opioids. (Whitney Curtis/AP Images for Mallinckrodt, File)
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MADISON, Wis. (AP/WMTV) -- U.K.-based Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals — a generic opioid manufacturer — agreed to pay $1.6 billion over eight years, according to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.

“Getting accountability from pharmaceutical companies is an important part of our strategy for fighting the opioid epidemic,” Kaul said. “With this agreement, more resources will be available to help combat this crisis.”

The maker of OxyContin is often seen as the key villain in the opioid crisis that has claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives, but makers of generic drugs shipped far more powerful prescription painkillers. The settlement agreed upon Tuesday is designed to end all the lawsuits it faces.

The cash will go to a trust that will cover the costs of opioid addiction treatment and related efforts, with the potential for increased payment to the trust, according to Kaul. Mallinckrodt also agreed that its future generic opioid business will be subject to strict rules that will prevent marketing and ensure systems are in place to prevent diversion.

Federal court records made public last year show Mallinckrodt employees were more concerned with sales than with public health.

It and another generic drugmaker, Actavis, were the two largest opioid producers as the overdose crisis exploded.

Opioids are a family of drugs including prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin. In 2017, more people died in Wisconsin from an opioid overdose than from motor vehicle accidents, suicide, or firearms, a total of 926 people, according to Kaul.

In March of 2019, Wisconsin Department of Justice joined multi-state investigations of opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson. In May of 2019, Attorney General Kaul announced lawsuits filed against two Purdue Pharma entities and Richard S. Sackler for deceptive and false marketing practices in the sale of opioids.