Purdue Pharma offers free opioid therapy as part of legal settlements

The private pharmaceutical company that made OxyContin, Purdue Pharma L.P., is reportedly offering free doses of an opioid-abuse treatment. Sources claim that the move is a part of its offer to settle more than 1,000 lawsuits blaming the drugmaker of fueling the opioid crisis.

Credible reports indicate that the company will give away doses of a new version of buprenorphine, helping to dissuade people addicted to opioids from taking the drugs, as part of the settlement. Further from sources, Richard Sackler, former Purdue president and billionaire physician, is one of the six inventors of the patent on which the new version of buprenorphine is based.

Supposedly, opioid makers and drug wholesalers are looking to escape from legal actions over their alleged role in the crisis that kills over 100 Americans each day and could result in billions of dollars in penalties. As per reports, in an attempt to get out of an industry-wide settlement and cap its legal exposure, Endo International Plc is also seeking to resolve all lawsuits over its Opana painkiller.

Buprenorphine, for the record, has been effective for treating opioid use disorders after its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002. According to reports, FDA signed off on another version of Buprenorphine recently, while other approved forms of medication-assisted treatment include naltrexone and methadone.

Till date, Purdue has apparently helped fund the distribution of opioid-overdose antidote naloxone, pledged $3.4 million to a nonprofit firm working on a cheaper version of naloxone and purchased ads in the press touting its efforts. Wholesaler Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. have been other defendants that while fighting legal cases, have committed to fighting the opioid-abuse crisis with millions of dollars in donations.

As per records, more than 49,000 people died last year from opioid overdose, a surge of around 7,000 from the previous year. The government has blamed wholesalers and drugmakers for hyping the benefits of painkillers through marketing campaigns and under informing about their health risks.