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S.C. part of proposed settlement with opioid manufacturer

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Large generic opioid manufacturer Mallinckrodt has reached a $1.6 billion global settlement in principle with attorneys general for 47 states and U.S. territories that would resolve all opioid-related claims against the company.

The majority of the payments will go into a trust that would establish an abatement fund to cover costs of opioid addiction treatment and related efforts, according to a statement from Mallinckrodt released Tuesday. The company said that the proposed deal, if approved, will resolve all opioid-related claims against it and its subsidiaries.

Specialty Generics, the company’s main subsidiary, will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with the proposed settlement becoming effective when it emerges from those proceedings, Mallinckrodt said. Plaintiffs would receive payments over an eight-year period.

South Carolina was one of the states involved in the litigation. A news release from S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office said details about how money of the settlement money the state will receive and how it will be distributed are still being negotiated.

Wilson’s office said the settlement would include the possibility of increased payment to the trust, and that Mallinckrodt agreed that its future generics opioid business will be subject to stringent injunctive relief, including marketing scrutiny.

“My focus is on both accountability and obtaining the resources we need to get victims of this epidemic the help they deserve,” Wilson said in the release. “This agreement is a significant step toward a solution to this overwhelming crisis, and my office will continue to do everything it can to protect South Carolinians from this life-destroying crisis.”    

Wilson has also initiated lawsuits against Purdue Pharma alleging misleading marketing and sale of opioids, as well as McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen for their role in opioid distribution.

Wilson’s office previously said that the number of fatal drug overdoses in S.C. involving opioids increased 64% between 2014 and 2018, from 504 to 816. As of January 2018, combined heroin and prescription opioid overdose deaths in the state exceeded the number of homicides for the previous three years.

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