Software company Practice Fusion has reportedly agreed to pay $145 million for its alleged involvement in an opioid prescription software scheme that alerted doctors to prescribe painkillers as part of a software tool.

According to Bloomberg, Practice Fusion partnered with an unnamed pharmaceutical company, which has similarities to a partnership formed with Purdue Pharma Inc. – the makers of OxyContin. While the drugmaker was not named in the case, Reuters reported that is was Purdue Pharma, according to sources for the news outlet.

Practice Fusion and Purdue Pharma did announce a deal that they were studying a software tool that matched the description in court documents. The software program in question reportedly notified tens of thousands of doctors’ offices about 230 million times from 2016 to spring 2019 that their patients needed opioid painkillers as part of their treatment plan.

Practice Fusion settled both civil and criminal cases surrounding the use of the alert software and admitted to the scheme, which was thought to increase opioid sales by as much as $11.3 million, Bloomberg said. Practice Fusion reportedly received almost $1 million to develop the software with the unknown drugmaker in 2013.

The thought behind the development of the software was to get opioids made by the drugmakers to more patients with a goal of securing long-term prescriptions for the painkillers, court documents said.

Practice Fusion is owned by Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (MDRX), which said in a statement to Bloomberg that the deal with Purdue Pharma predated the alleged scheme, and since that time, the company has “further strengthened” its compliance practices.

For Practice Fusion, this was not the only software deal it had made as the news outlet reported that it had partnerships with 14 other pharmaceutical companies from 2013 to 2017. Practice Fusion did admit to the opioid agreement, but there has been no liability determined on civil claims, according to the Justice Department.

The opioid epidemic seems to be waning as the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported that life expectancy is increasing, moving forward from the number of overdose deaths that plagued the U.S. over the last two decades.

According to the CDC, the opioid epidemic was linked to widespread marketing and distribution of painkillers that started as far back as the 1990s. Billions have been dedicated to federal, state, and local government drug treatments, with the first decline in death rates from overdoses since 2012, The Washington Post said.

“This news is a real victory, and it should be a source of encouragement for all Americans who have been committed to connecting people struggling with substance abuse to treatment and recovery,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said in a statement.

Shares of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions stock were down 1.17% as of 10:39 a.m. EST on Thursday.

Opioid painkillers like these are linked to thousands of overdose deaths in the US
Opioid painkillers like these are linked to thousands of overdose deaths in the US AFP / Eric BARADAT