Attorney General Knudsen reaches settlement holding another opioid maker accountable for its role in addiction epidemic
Montana is one of dozens of states that have reached an agreement in principle with opioid maker Endo International PLC, Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced today. It resolves allegations that the Ireland-based drugmaker boosted opioid sales using deceptive marketing that downplayed the risk of addiction and overstated the benefits.
Under the agreement, Endo and its lenders would provide up to $450 million to participating states and local governments, ban promotion of the company’s opioids, and require it to turn over millions of documents related to its role in the opioid crisis for publication in a public online archive. It is contingent on final documentation and Bankruptcy Court approval.
“Hundreds of Montanans have died and thousands more are struggling with addiction because of deceptive marketing and other actions taken by opioid manufacturers. Endo was one of those companies, falsely saying its opioids deterred abuse,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “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.”
Endo makes generic and branded opioids including Percocet and Endocet, and made OpanaER, which was withdrawn from the market in 2017. Montana and the other states allege that Endo falsely promoted the benefits of Opana ER’s so-called abuse-deterrent formulation, which did nothing to deter oral abuse and led to deadly outbreaks of Hepatitis and HIV due to its widespread abuse via injection.
Since taking office, Attorney General Knudsen has been working to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in fueling the opioid crisis.
In 2021, Montana received $1.9 million from a settlement with McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s largest consulting firms, regarding the company’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting from the opioid epidemic. It was the first multi-state opioid settlement to result in substantial payment to the states to address the epidemic.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Knudsen secured $80 million for Montana from a separate multi-state settlement holding the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors and Johnson & Johnson accountable for their roles in fueling the national opioid epidemic and the harm it has caused. A trust to receive the funds has been formulated and will be overseen by an advisory committee. Funds are expected to start arriving in the fall and will be paid out over the next 18 years.