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Purdue settles with insurer on OxyContin

NEW YORK, June 13 (UPI) -- Purdue Pharma has settled with its insurer over lofty legal costs the drug maker had racked up in defending against OxyContin suits.

According to a report Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, Steadfast Insurance Co. was disputing having to pay out more than $400 million in legal expenses Purdue had incurred defending more than 1,400 claims brought by users of Purdue's prescription drug OxyContin, which the plaintiffs allege is addictive.

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As part of a confidential settlement agreement, Steadfast, a division of Switzerland-based Zurich Insurance, will pick up a little more than $200 million of the OxyContin legal tab.

The parties settled the day before Purdue was scheduled to meet its insurer in court, the report said.

None of the pending OxyContin lawsuits has gone to trial, WSJ reported. The report further noted that, although insurance payment disputes are common, the Purdue-Steadfast imbroglio was a standout.

Steadfast alleged that Purdue hired 40 law firms in 32 states to defend it in the cadre of OxyContin suits, encompassing 322 partners, 849 associates and 1,023 paralegals, who combined billed the insurer for more than 1.2 million work hours, the newspaper said.

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