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July 22 (Reuters) – Endo International Plc (ENDP.O) has agreed to pay $35 million to settle a lawsuit by Tennessee local governments and on behalf of a child allegedly born addicted to painkillers accusing the drugmaker of fueling the opioid epidemic, the company announced Thursday.
The settlement came just days before the case was set to go to trial to decide damages, in which plaintiffs were expected to seek $2.4 billion. A judge had previously ruled Endo liable as a penalty for failing to hand over evidence.
Endo shares had jumped about 25% on Tuesday after local government officials revealed that the drugmaker had made a settlement offer.
The lawsuit, which was filed in 2017, is being pursued by several local governments and a “Baby Doe” allegedly born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is caused by withdrawal after in-utero opioid exposure.
The plaintiffs alleged that Endo downplayed the risks of its painkiller Opana ER, which was pulled from the market in 2017 due to concerns about abuse. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and generic opioid maker Mallinckrodt Plc were also named as defendants in the case, but subsequently filed for bankruptcy, leaving Endo as the only active defendant.
Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York, additional reporting by Tom Hals and Nate Raymond; editing by Diane Craft
Brendan Pierson reports on product liability litigation and on all areas of health care law. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.