Montana AG announces another multi-state settlement with opioid manufacturer

Attorney General Austin Knudsen
Posted at 11:23 AM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-17 13:23:55-04

HELENA — Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced Wednesday that Montana is one of dozens of states that have reached another settlement agreement with an opioid manufacturer.

In a statement, Knudsen said the states have an agreement in principle with Endo International, a pharmaceutical company that produces opioids like Percocet and Endocet. It resolves claims that the drugmaker used deceptive marketing that overstated its opioids’ benefits and downplayed addiction risks.

According to Knudsen, the agreement would require Endo and its creditors to provide $450 million to states and local governments, ban the company from promoting its opioids and require it to release documents on its role in the opioid crisis.

“Hundreds of Montanans have died and thousands more are struggling with addiction because of deceptive marketing and other actions taken by opioid manufacturers,” Knudsen said in the statement. “Endo was one of those companies, falsely saying its opioids deterred abuse. This settlement will ban them from advertising opioids and force them to pay $450 million to states like Montana to support treatment and prevention for our citizens.”

The participating states claimed Endo made deceptive claims about the drug Opana ER, which they reformulated in an effort to discourage people from abusing it. The states argued the “abuse-deterrent formulation” didn’t stop improper oral use, and it led to outbreaks of diseases like HIV and hepatitis as people abused it through injections.

In 2017, the FDA asked Endo to remove Opana ER from the market because of abuse risks.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported Endo International filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it sought to resolve its outstanding lawsuits.

This is only the latest opioid-related settlement Montana has taken part in. Knudsen’s office reported a 2021 agreement with McKinsey & Company over their role in working for opioid manufacturers, as well as an agreement earlier this year that brought Montana $80 million from three major pharmaceutical distributors and Johnson & Johnson.