Purdue Pharma offers free opioid therapy in legal talks

Purdue Pharma is reportedly offering free doses of an opioid-abuse treatment as part of its offer to resolve more than 1,000 lawsuits accusing the firm of helping fuel the opioid crisis.

Purdue Pharma is reportedly offering free doses of an opioid-abuse treatment as part of its offer to resolve more than 1,000 lawsuits accusing the firm of helping fuel the opioid crisis. The drugmaker has stated it will give away doses of a new version of buprenorphine as part of any settlement, according to four people familiar with the talks sponsored by state attorneys general and a federal judge. The new version of the drug is based on a patent that lists past Purdue president Richard Sackler as one of six inventors. Sackler’s father co-founded Purdue. "I'd have to say this is a pretty clever move," says Richard Ausness, a University of Kentucky law professor. "Over the last 20 years, Purdue hasn’t shown any real contrition or remorse, so I see this offer of free step-down drugs as a savvy negotiating tactic to limit what they have to pay in any settlement." Buprenorphine, first approved by FDA in 2002, has been shown to be effective for treating opioid use disorders. It is available in tablet and film forms, although Sackler’s patent references a wafer that could dissolve faster. It is held by Rhodes Pharmaceuticals LP, a drugmaker also owned by the Sacklers. A lawyer for Rhodes Pharmaceuticals indicated that if a drug is developed it would not be for any profit.