Federal government demands portion of Oklahoma’s $270 million opioid settlement

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The federal government is seeking a portion of Oklahoma’s $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma that stemmed from the state’s ongoing lawsuit against opioid drug makers.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says in a letter to the head of Oklahoma’s Medicaid agency it has determined the federal government is entitled to a portion of Oklahoma’s proceeds.

The June 12 letter from CMS’ regional director Bill Brooks also seeks detailed information from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and warns that failure to return a portion of the settlement money could result in the withholding of federal funds.

Details of the letter were first reported by The Washington Post.

“We are aware of the letter and are reviewing it. We’ve been given an additional 90 days to respond. This will not affect state revenue,” Alex Gerszewski, press secretary for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, told News 4 in a statement.

In March, Hunter said the settlement would establish a nearly $200 million endowment at the Oklahoma State University’s Center for Wellness and Recovery, which will go toward treating a nationwide addiction epidemic.

Oklahoma sued 13 opioid manufacturers in 2017, alleging they fraudulently engaged in marketing campaigns that led to thousands of overdose addictions and deaths.

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