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KDSN RADIO News

Friday, July 9, 2021

Iowa Attorney General announces opioid case settlement, lawsuit against Google

[Radio Iowa]

Attorney General Tom Miller says Iowa will get $25 million from a settlement in a lawsuit over opioid abuse. AG spokesperson, Ashlee Kieler says it involves the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma.

"The settlement stems from the lawsuit that was filed back in the spring of 2019. It looks to hold the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma responsible for their actions with regards to the opioid epidemic," Kieler says.

The lawsuit alleged that Purdue officials repeatedly made false and deceptive claims that OxyContin was safe and suitable for a wide range of pain patients. Iowa's share of the money comes from a total settlement of $4.3 billion.

"The money would be used for opioid treatment prevention programs and recovery for people affected," she explains.

The Sacklers will pay the settlement amount over the next nine years as part of the agreement -- and the Sacklers will be permanently banned from the opioid business.

She says Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy after the lawsuit was filed and the company will wind down operations by 2024.

The settlement requires Purdue and the Sacklers to make public more than 30 million documents, including attorney-client privileged communications about the original FDA approval of OxyContin and tactics to promote opioids.

Iowa's Attorney General has joined 37 of his counterparts in other states to file a lawsuit against Google.

"We are alleging that Google has an unfair monopoly with regards to their app store and how that works in the android system," AG spokesperson Ashlee Kieler says.

The states accuse Google of using its dominance to unfairly restrict competition with the Google Play Store, harming consumers by limiting choice and driving up app prices

"App developers are required in most cases to use the Google payment system. So, that means if the consumer downloads the app from the Google Playstore, any purchase they are making within that app is processed through the Google pay system -- and through that, Google can charge fees," according to Kieler.

The lawsuit alleges Google has knowingly passed higher than average fees along to customers, often costing consumers hundreds if not thousands of dollars they wouldn’t have spent except for Google’s dominant market position. Kieler says the states are seeking a couple of things in the lawsuit.

"Looking to have Google open things up more so that there can be more competition within the Googleplay App store and the Google pay system," Kieler says, "and also looking for giving some monetary funds back to consumers."

Kieler does not know exactly how many Iowans may have had to pay the fees.

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