Purdue settlement may rely on opioid sales

The tentative multibillion-dollar settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma would raise money to help clean up the opioid mess by ... selling more OxyContin.

That would amount to blood money, in the opinion of some critics. And it’s one reason two dozen states have rejected the deal.

“The settlement agreement basically requires the settlement payments to be made based on the future sales and profits of opioids. That doesn’t really feel to me like the right way to do this,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said this week.

Massachusetts is among several states that have pledged to continue pushing back in court against the company and especially members of the Sackler family, which owns Purdue. On Tuesday, North Carolina became the latest state to sue the Sacklers.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue, cast as a major villain in the opioid crisis in some 2,600 lawsuits brought by state, local and tribal governments, hospitals, unions and others, filed for bankruptcy Sunday in the first step toward putting the settlement into effect.

Aboard Air Force One

Trump reveals short list for Bolton replacement

President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday he’s considering five people to replace ousted National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Trump says his shortlist for the critical post is made up of Robert O’Brien, Ric Waddell, Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Fred Fleitz and Keith Kellogg. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham later clarified to reporters that Trump was still considering other candidates for the post.

O’Brien is currently the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs. Waddell served as Trump’s deputy national security adviser. Fleitz is a Bolton ally who served as executive secretary of the NSC last year. Gordon-Hagerty is the Energy Department’s undersecretary for nuclear security. And Kellogg is the national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump had said after Bolton departed last Monday that he hoped to name a new national security adviser this week.

Los Angeles

Bootleggers mimicking legal vape brands

A short walk from police headquarters in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, a cluster of bustling shops are openly selling packaging and hardware that can be used to produce counterfeit marijuana vapes that have infected California’s cannabis market.Bootleggers eager to profit off unsuspecting consumers are mimicking popular, legal vape brands, pairing replica packaging churned out in Chinese factories with untested, possibly dangerous cannabis oil produced in the state’s vast underground market.

The result: Authentic-looking vape cartridges sold by unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services, along with rogue websites.

The deceptive rip-offs on the street could be linked to an emerging public health crisis. Hundreds of people across the U.S. have been sickened, mainly by vaping cannabis oil. Seven deaths have been reported, the latest on Monday in California’s Tulare County.

Public health officials aren’t sure what’s causing the breathing issues, vomiting and other symptoms, but in California they say most patients reported purchasing vapes from pop-up shops or other illegal sellers that are a pipeline for counterfeit products.

— The Associated Press

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