Guam AG joins Purdue Pharma talks; eyes cut of $3 billion settlement

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Purdue Pharma, the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, is facing billions of dollars in potential liability for its role in the nation's opioid crisis.

Guam has joined in on settlement talks with Purdue Pharma, the giant billion-dollar opioid maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin which is being sued for potential liability for its role in the nation’s opioid crisis.

A release from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said the award is worth upwards of $3 billion, of which Guam will get a cut.

“It’s important for Guam to be part of the settlement conversations, securing every dollar we can to support the Island’s fight against our drug problem,” Attorney General Leevin Camacho said.

In August, the OAG sued Purdue alleging that the company designed, financed and waged a marketing campaign to mislead prescribers, patients and the public into believing their opioid drugs were safe to treat pain on a long-term basis. This includes the allegation that Purdue rebranded a formula of OxyContin as “abuse deterrent” despite a lack of evidence to support that claim.

According to the complaint, there were over 97,000 opioid prescriptions dispensed in Guam between 2015 and 2019. The OAG also alleges that nearly 200 doses of Naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, were dispensed at Guam Memorial Hospital from 2018 through July 2019.

“As a community, we have to take a multi-prong approach to combat our drug problem. Any settlement funds we receive should be committed to rehabilitation programs and other evidence-based programs that prevent drug abuse and address addiction,” said AG Camacho.

The OAG is also involved in a separate settlement discussion about opioid drugs produced by other pharmaceutical companies. A $48 billion settlement discussion is ongoing against drug manufacturers and distributors, according to the release.

The release states that settlement discussions will continue over the upcoming weeks.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.