OxyContin maker agrees to tentative settlement, attorneys say

Elias Hubbard
September 12, 2019

The company, whose OxyContin played a role in the opioid epidemic, plans to file for bankruptcy imminently and restructure under an agreement with 23 states and almost 2,300 cities, counties and tribes, according to the New York Times.

The Associated Press reported that the agreement would see Purdue pay up to $12 billion over time; the Sackler family would give up control of the company, while also contributing $3 billion over the next seven years and another $1.5 billion pending the sale of the family's global pharmaceutical business, Mundipharma.

The lawsuits, which have in some cases targeted the Sacklers as well as Purdue, claim the family and company contributed to a public health crisis that claimed the lives of almost 400,000 people between 1999 and 2017, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the agreement included more money from the Sackler family, which had become a sticking point during the recent talks.

Purdue will restructure under the agreement and keep selling OxyContin, with proceeds going back to plaintiffs to help remedy the nationwide opioid and addiction epidemic.

The lawsuits against Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue paint it as a particular villain in the crisis.

The lawsuit alleges that Purdue Pharma lied about the addictive properties of opioids that they marketed and used aggressive sales tactics to convince doctors to prescribe more drugs.

Purdue is expected to file for bankruptcy as soon as this weekend or next, according to Reuters. States were expected on Wednesday to update a federal judge on the settlement offer's support, which remained in flux. "If the company enters financial bankruptcy as well, New Jersey will continue to pursue all available legal options against those responsible", New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in response to the tentative deal. Roughly 20 states have sued members of the Sackler family in state courts.

New York, Massachusetts and CT, where privately-held Purdue is based, are among the states opposed to the current offer and have reportedly pushed the family to guarantee $4.5bn.

"The scope and scale of the pain, death and destruction that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused far exceeds anything that has been offered thus far", Tong said.

"Connecticut's focus is on the victims and their families, and holding Purdue and the Sacklers accountable for the crisis they have caused".

Healey filed a bombshell brief accusing Purdue Pharma and its executives of illegally profiting from addiction.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the tentative deal "a slap in the face to everyone who has had to bury a loved one due to this family's destruction and greed".

He said he intends to continue fighting the Sacklers, who he said did not have to acknowledge any wrongdoing in their agreement.

However, some state attorneys general indicated that they were not on board with the proposal.

There was no immediate response from Purdue, and attempts to reach members of the Sackler family were not immediately successful.

How any money from the settlement will be divided among all the entities is not entirely clear.

Attorney Paul Farrell said in a text message Wednesday that they have agreed to a deal that has been on the table for several weeks.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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