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AG Josh Shapiro Says Pennsylvanians Will Get A 'Better Deal' Than Oklahoma Opioid Settlement

Tony Talbot
Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, agreed to a $270 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma over how its marketing practices influenced opioid abuse. The state had been seeking $20 billion.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says Oklahoma got "a bad deal" in its recent $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma. The deal, which didn't directly allot any funding to those affected by Purdue's opioid marketing practices, allows the company's owners to direct future addiction research and treament in the state. 

Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro stands outside the WESA studios on Friday, April 12, 2019.

Shapiro says Pennsylvanians deserve better.

His office is leading a similar, multi-state investigation into the marketing practices of opioid manufacturers and distributors. Shapiro says he hopes that case, which began a year ago, will lead to revisions at the corporate level and possibly offer more substantial damages to those who's lives were lost or altered by opioid abuse. He promised more details soon.   

Shapiro joined The Confluence's Megan Harris to talk about the investigation; his ongoing battle with UPMC regarding its expiring consent decree with Highmark insurance carriers; Pennsylvania's student loan debt crisis; and the evolving nature of the office of state attorney general. 

As yet, Shapiro says he has no plans to run for governor when Tom Wolf's term expires in 2022. 

Broadcast specialist William A. Korber, a Western Pennsylvania native, interviews artillerymen in the field in 1968. This photo and a collection of others are on display as part of The Heinz History Center's exhibit “The Vietnam War: 1945-1975.”

Later in the program:   

For some families who have a child with autism, preventing wandering at night is a major concern. As part of the Built in PGH series, 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Boden visited Abram’s Nation, a Gibsonia-based company that produces the Safety Sleeper, a bed designed to keep kids in their beds at night.

And the Heinz History Center’s newest exhibit, “The Vietnam War: 1945-1975,” traces the conflict’s origins in the Cold War and Vietnam’s anti-colonial struggle against France. It features artifacts from Pittsburghers who served and documents from the anti-war movement locally and across the U.S.

Joining the program to discuss the exhibit are:

  • Samuel Black, a historian and lead curator of the exhibit;
  • Jack Wagner, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, former state senator and auditor general, and founder of Pittsburgh Hires Veterans; and,
  • John Clark, Pittsburgh native, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and exhibit contributor.

90.5 WESA's Alex Lenigan and Mick Stinelli contributed to this program.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley Koscinski is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She previously produced The Confluence and Morning Edition. Before coming to WESA, she worked as an assignment desk editor and producer at 1020 AM KDKA. She can be reached at
Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago.
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