The Latest: Lawyer questions drug company motive with grant

The Latest on Purdue Pharma’s funding to help develop a lower-price overdose antidote (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

A lawyer for local governments suing the opioid industry is questioning the motives of a major prescription painkiller producer making a grant to develop a lower-price overdose antidote.

Paul Hanly says Purdue Pharma’s $3.4 million is “a strategic move” for the benefit of a judge who is overseeing more than 1,000 lawsuits against the drug industry. At the same time, he said, it is beneficial to have a lower-cost version of naloxone (nuh-LAHX’-ohn) nasal spray available.

The company that makes OxyContin announced the grant Wednesday to Harm Reduction Therapeutics, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit. Purdue says it’s advancing public safety.

The antidote is widely used but can be expensive for governments fighting the effects of a nationwide opioid overdose crisis.

___

12:15 p.m.

A company whose prescription opioid marketing practices are being blamed for sparking a nationwide overdose and addiction crisis says it’s helping fund an effort to make a lower-cost overdose antidote.

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma announced on Wednesday that it’s making a $3.4 million grant to Harm Reduction Therapeutics, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, to help develop a low-cost naloxone (nuh-LAHX’-ohn) nasal spray.

First responders, drug users and others have taken to carrying naloxone to reverse overdoses. But the price of the drug has been a problem for state and local governments.

Harm Reduction Therapeutics says it is trying to get its version to the market within two years.

The announcement from Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue days after the number of lawsuits against the drug industry under one federal judge’s watch topped 1,000.

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