Endo to flag Opana ER painkiller's risks, under NY settlement

NEW YORK, March 3 (Reuters) - Endo International Plc agreed to stop marketing its Opana ER painkiller pill as crush-resistant, and stop downplaying the risks of addiction associated with the narcotic, under a settlement with New York state announced on Thursday.

The company will also pay a $200,000 penalty.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Endo’s own studies found that the pill could be crushed, but that the company’s misleading marketing provided a false sense of security to doctors and patients, and might have boosted sales.

He also said Endo improperly directed sales representatives to understate the addiction risks associated with Opana ER.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has characterized opioid overdoses as an epidemic.

It said opioids in 2014 were involved in 28,647 deaths, or 61 percent of all drug overdose deaths, in the United States, and that the rate of opioid overdoses has tripled since 2000.

Schneiderman said the use of prescription opioids to manage chronic, non-cancerous pain rose tenfold nationwide over the last 20 years.

Endo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday’s settlement.

The company is based in Dublin, Ireland, and has U.S. offices in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

On Monday, Endo said it faces other regulatory probes and lawsuits into its opioid sales and marketing practices.

It reported $175.8 million of net sales from Opana ER for 2015, accounting for more than 5 percent of total revenue. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)