Update, September 16th: On Sunday, Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as part of the agreement to settle over 2,000 lawsuits.
Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of painkiller OxyContin, has tentatively settled a multibillion-dollar case with attorneys representing over 2,000 states, cities, counties and Native American tribes that sued the company for its role in fueling the opioid crisis, The New York Times reports.
As part of the settlement, Purdue is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company’s owners, members of the Sackler family, would dissolve Purdue Pharma and form a new company that would continue to sell Oxycontin, with proceeds benefitting the plaintiffs via a public beneficiary company. Purdue would also donate “rescue” drugs, including several currently in development, for addiction treatment and overdose reversal.
The deal, which would not include a statement of wrongdoing, is worth between $10 billion and $12 billion, including a $3 billion cash payment from the Sacklers, The Washington Post reports. It would also feature at least $1.5 billion from the family’s sale of international drug conglomerate Mundipharma.
Despite the massive payout, some states argue the amount is too small given the scale of the opioid epidemic. In a statement, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said his state had “not agreed to any settlement,” adding, “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.”
Other attorneys general, including those from Massachusetts and New York, have also rejected the current settlement.
Purdue is separately negotiating to resolve criminal and civil probes with the U.S. Justice Department, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Connecticut-based company has repeatedly denied accusations that its marketing practices encouraged doctors to overprescribe oxycontin.
An Oklahoma judge recently ruled against Johnson & Johnson in the first trial of an opioid manufacturer, ordering the company to pay the state $572 million for contributing to a nationwide epidemic that kills more than 130 people per day.