Purdue Pharma, the behemoth pharmaceutical company owned by the Sackler family, is offering to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits related to the opioid crisis for somewhere between $10 and $12 billion, NBC News reports. That figure comes on the heels of mediations between Purdue’s legal team and that of the plaintiffs, which were held in Cleveland last week.
Multiple states, including Massachusetts and New York, are bringing lawsuits against the Sackler family. At least 10 state attorneys general showed up to the negotiations involving the Purdue lawyers in Cleveland. The lawsuits allege that the wealthy family turned a blind eye to and directly profited off of the opioid crisis, which has taken more than 700,000 Americans’ lives between 1999 and 2017, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
According to NBC News, lawyers for Purdue Pharmaceuticals offered the plaintiffs between $10 and $12 billion, $3 billion of which would directly come from the Sacker family members’ pockets. As part of the settlement, the Sacklers would also relinquish control of the company. (The Sackler family is currently worth about $13 billion, according to Bloomberg.)
News of the settlement comes just one day after a judge ordered that Johnson & Johnson, one of the major pharmaceutical companies in the country, pay $572 million to the state of Oklahoma, which was the first to file suit against the company for its role in perpetuating the opioid crisis. The $572 million award was significantly less than the $17 billion the state initially sought.
Once among the richest families in the world, the Sackler family has faced an onslaught of criticism as a result of the role it allegedly played in helping to perpetuate the opioid crisis, with lawsuits alleging that family members ignored emerging research suggesting that prescription opioids like Oxycontin were dangerously addictive and associated with various health risks. Some art institutions, including the Louvre, have removed the Sackler family name from its wings, while others like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City have stated they will no longer accept donations from the family. The Sackler family has long denied allegations that it played a role in furthering the opioid crisis.
In a statement to NBC News, Purdue Pharmaceuticals said the settlement resulted from the company’s belief that it “sees little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals.”