Other Investigations and Lawsuits
Additional Opioid Investigations and Lawsuits
The Attorney General’s Office has taken legal action to hold opioid manufacturers, distributors, and individuals accountable for their conduct in creating this crisis, and to seek recovery of funds that can be used to address the issue. More information about the legal action taken by the Attorney General’s Office can be found below. Although lawsuits will never remedy the pain and tragedy Minnesotans have suffered, and no amount of money will ever be enough to make Minnesota families and communities whole for the death and destruction that these opioid companies have caused, the justice system can help us fix the many problems caused by this crisis. That is why the Attorney General’s Office has worked to reach settlements, which will deliver the maximum possible amount of value, transparency, and accountability.
In addition to the public matters referenced below, the Attorney General’s Office continues to be engaged in multistate investigations and settlement negotiations with numerous other pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for violations of state consumer protection laws. The Office is leading nationwide efforts to ensure public disclosure of opioid-related documents, which are designed to achieve accountability, transparency, and prevention of future harm. The Office is also coordinating with the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council to ensure any potential settlement funds are used as effectively as possible throughout Minnesota to remedy the ongoing opioid crisis.
State of Minnesota v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al.
In July 2018, the Office filed suit against OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, alleging that Purdue misrepresented the risks of opioid addiction and the benefits of long-term opioid use. In August 2019, the Office filed an amended complaint adding members of the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma, as co-defendants. Purdue filed for bankruptcy in September 2019 and, over the objections of the Office and many other states, convinced the bankruptcy judge to halt all litigation against the company and the Sacklers. The Office pursued Minnesota’s interests within the bankruptcy by working to maximize the value of the state’s recovery from Purdue and the Sackler family. In July 2021, this Office reached a multistate settlement with Purdue and the Sackler family for payments of more than $4.3 billion over 10 years. Minnesota’s share of those payments is expected to exceed $50 million, which will be used to address the harm of the opioid crisis in Minnesota. Minnesota made sure that the settlement also provides for unprecedented public disclosure of more than 30 million documents, including attorney-client privileged documents, which will ensure that Purdue and the Sackler family are held accountable by allowing the public to directly view the evidence of their misconduct. Additional information on the settlement can be found here.
State of Minnesota v. McKinsey & Company, Inc.
In February 2021, the Office joined a multistate coalition of attorneys general in reaching a $573 million settlement with McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. The settlement resolved investigations into the company’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting from the opioid epidemic. Minnesota’s share of the settlement is nearly $8 million, $6.6 million of which has already been paid. The remainder will be paid over four years. The entire settlement sum will be placed into the opioid abatement fund and used to abate the opioid crisis in the state. Additional information on the settlement can be found here.
State of Minnesota v. Insys Therapeutics, Inc.
In May 2018, the Office filed suit along with the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy against Insys Therapeutics, an opioid manufacturer that sold a highly potent fentanyl product called Subsys. In its enforcement action, the Office alleged Insys violated Minnesota law by unlawfully promoting Subsys and by paying Minnesota physicians “sham” speaker fees in order to induce prescriptions. After Insys filed for bankruptcy in June 2019, the Office helped craft a bankruptcy settlement that liquidated Insys. The bankruptcy court confirmed the bankruptcy plan in January 2020. Although the money paid by the company to the State was relatively small compared to the harm it caused to Minnesotans, the State was able to publicly expose the company’s practices, including many of their internal documents, to hopefully prevent this type of harm from occurring in the future. The company’s founder, along with other company executives, was convicted of criminal racketeering conspiracy and sentenced to prison. Tight restrictions were also placed on the marketing of this medication in the future to ensure it is only advertised for appropriate uses. Additional information on the Insys bankruptcy plan and resolution of the state’s lawsuit can be found here.
In October 2020, the Office joined a $1.6 billion multistate settlement–the amount has since increased to $1.725 billion—with opioid manufacturer Mallinckrodt. As a part of the settlement, the company entered bankruptcy and will pay Minnesota and other states upon emergence. Minnesota’s share of those payments will go toward abating the opioid crisis. As a part of the settlement, Mallinckrodt disclosed about 1.4 million documents to this Office, which will be published in a document repository established by the University of California San Francisco and Johns Hopkins University. The settlement and bankruptcy plan remain subject to creditor voting and confirmation by the bankruptcy judge.
Minnesota Attorney General’s Office opioids contact information:
Telephone: (612) 429-7126