Opioid Ghouls at Purdue Pharma Reach Tentative Settlement Worth Billions

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Purdue Pharma, the Oxycontin manufacturer that largely fueled the opioid crisis, reached a tentative settlement with attorneys representing municipalities, states, and tribes across the country, according to reports from the Washington Post and New York Times.

Purdue’s deceptive and aggressive marketing of Oxycontin led to a rapid increase in opioid abuse since the late 1990s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

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The Times reports that under the settlement Purdue Pharma will be dissolved and a new company will be formed to sell Oxycontin, with proceeds being used to pay off the plaintiffs. The settlement will reportedly cost Purdue and its owners, the Sackler family, $10 billion to $12 billion, with the Sacklers paying $3 billion of their own money for their leading role in an ongoing tragedy that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of victims.

The settlement doesn’t include an admission of wrongdoing, according to the Times.

When reached for comment, Purdue Pharma told Gizmodo, “Purdue Pharma continues to work with all plaintiffs on reaching a comprehensive resolution to its opioid litigation that will deliver billions of dollars and vital opioid overdose rescue medicines to communities across the country impacted by the opioid crisis.”

According to the Washington Post, a group of attorneys representing counties, cities, and other entities who are a part of a consolidated federal lawsuit are interested in accepting the settlement. However, some of the 22 state attorneys general that sued the company and the Sacklers don’t support the deal, because they want the Sacklers to give up more of their personal fortune, which grew out of their opioid empire.

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“Connecticut has not agreed to any settlement,” state attorney general William Tong said in a statement to the Times. “Our position remains firm and unchanged and nothing for us has changed today ... I cannot predict whether Purdue will seek bankruptcy, but all I can say is we are ready to aggressively pursue this case wherever it goes.”

The issue of the Sackler family facing a significant personal financial penalty has been an ongoing sticking point in the effort to reach a settlement.

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“The families who were hurt by Purdue and the Sacklers have spoken loud and clear that this case demands real accountability,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey told CNBC in a statement about her reasoning for not accepting the settlement. “It’s critical that all the facts come out about what this company and its executives and directors did, that they apologize for the harm they caused and that no one profits from breaking the law.”

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Jennings Brown

Senior editor and reporter at Gizmodo