Purdue Pharma and its owners, the billionaire Sackler family, will pay multiple states $6 billion to settle a lawsuit sparked by the devastating opioid crisis, according to court documents.
A New York state judge must now sign off on the agreement between the maker of OxyContin and the states.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Sacklers, whose combined net worth is estimated at $13 billion, will pay at least $5.5 billion in cash, which will be used to fund treatment centers helping drug addicts. opioids.
The Sackler family, which has not admitted wrongdoing, said in a statement that it “sincerely regrets” that OxyContin “has unexpectedly become part of an opioid crisis.”
The lawsuit also grants the family liability protection for any future civil lawsuits, although they are not protected from potential legal exposure.
Purdue Pharma has been accused of pushing massive amounts of its painkiller OxyContin onto patients, while downplaying its potential for addiction and abuse, which it has denied. He filed for bankruptcy in 2019, facing a slew of lawsuits over the drug.
“While the families acted lawfully in all respects, they sincerely regret that OxyContin, a prescription drug that continues to help chronic pain sufferers, has unexpectedly become part of an opioid crisis that has caused grief and loss to far too many families and communities. “, we read in the press release of the family.
Purdue Pharma has previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges of deceptive marketing and minimizing OxyContin’s addiction risk.
Last summer, Dr. Richard Sackler, former chairman and co-chairman of Purdue Pharma, testified in court that neither he, nor the family, nor the company were responsible for the opioid epidemic that killed a half a million Americans over the past 20 years. years.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain approved a reorganization plan in September, including a settlement of lawsuits against the company in which the Sacklers would pay $4.5 billion and be released from future liability.
In December, a federal judge rejected the settlement. U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan said in a written ruling that the bankruptcy court lacked the legal authority to hold the family harmless.
Eight states and the District of Columbia opposed the settlement. As part of Thursday’s settlement, $276 million of Sackler’s increased contribution will go toward those states and the District of Columbia.
Under the new settlement, the states agreed to stop fighting Purdue’s efforts to shield the Sacklers from future opioid lawsuits.
There is currently a legal shield in place that protects the Sacklers from being the target of current and future lawsuits. A bankruptcy judge extended that shield Wednesday through March 23, and Purdue is seeking to make that protection permanent.
Purdue now has agreements in place with all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, but those agreements must be approved by the bankruptcy court.
States that previously opposed restructuring included California, Purdue’s home state of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
New York Post