Law & the Courts

Purdue Pharma Reaches Settlement in Opioid Case

(George Frey/Reuters)

Purdue Pharma, maker of the painkiller OxyContin, has reached a tentative comprehensive settlement with 22 state attorneys general and thousands of local governments and tribes that had sued the drug manufacturer, charging that it catalyzed the opioid crisis.

The $10 billion to $12 billion settlement reportedly requires the dissolution of the Stamford, Conn. company, which is accused of helping jumpstart the opioid epidemic and is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy soon. A new company will be created, which will still sell OxyContin but also contribute funds to combat the opioid epidemic. The company’s owners, the Sackler family, will pay $3 billion of the settlement out of their personal $13 billion fortune over the next seven years and give up control of Purdue Pharma.

“We feel good progress has and will continue to be made,” said the federal plaintiffs and more than 20 attorneys general. But more than 20 other state attorneys general have said the deal does not hit Purdue Pharma hard enough and signaled that they will continue to go after the Sacklers independently.

“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,” Connecticut attorney general William Tong said in a statement. Ohio attorney general Dave Yos made clear that he also opposes the settlement.

Earlier this year, Oklahoma resolved a claim against Purdue Pharma for $270 million, which went toward funding addiction research and treatment as well as legal fees.

Close to 400,000 Americans are estimated to have died between 1999 and 2017 as a result of the opioid crisis.

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