Fifteen states have reached an agreement with Purdue Pharma, maker of the prescription pain reliever OxyContin, that would pave the way to a $ 4.5 billion settlement for thousands of opioid cases.
The states decided late Wednesday to abandon their opposition to Purdue’s recovery plan in exchange for the release of millions of documents and an additional $ 50 million from members of the Sackler family, owners of the company.
The agreement was contained in a late night mediator filing in the US bankruptcy court in White Plains, NY
The settlement is withdrawing concessions that are being added to a sweeping proposal that has now been voted on by more than 3,000 plaintiffs, including cities, counties, tribes and states, who tried to hold Purdue and its owners responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic . More than 500,000 Americans have died from prescription and illegal opioid overdoses.
Lawsuits are pending against other opioid manufacturers and drug dealers.
Almost two years ago, the Sacklers proposed paying $ 3 billion in cash. Both the company and family members had refused to release the entire treasure trove of documents, including hundreds of thousands of business emails and communications with lawyers dating back decades. According to last night’s records, Purdue and the Sacklers will now release about 33 million documents and the money has risen to $ 4.5 billion, plus an additional $ 225 million in a civil settlement with the Justice Department.
According to speakers, two branches of the Sackler family found that the settlement did not include a finding of liability or wrongdoing. In a statement, they said: “This decision to mediate is an important step in providing significant resources to people and communities in need. The Sackler family hopes that these funds will help to achieve this goal. “
The Sacklers have nine years to make payments, but the new agreement includes an expanded schedule.
The vote of thousands of believers on the Purdue plan ends on July 14th at 4pm. The company has obtained overwhelming approval in hopes of fending off objections.
In a statement, the company said, “We will continue to work to build even greater consensus on our reorganization plan that will transfer billions of dollars in value to trusts for the benefit of the American people and much-needed medicines and resources to communities and individuals at large Countries affected by the opioid crisis. “
If Judge Robert Drain, who leads the bankruptcy proceedings, upholds the plan after an August hearing, as is now widely expected, both the family and the company would be protected from further opioid-related lawsuits.
Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general who first sued individual Sacklers, said, “Although I know this decision will not bring back loved ones or undo the evil in what the Sacklers have done by forcing them to give up theirs Revealing secrets by providing all documents, forcing them to repay billions, forcing the Sacklers out of the opioid business and closing Purdue will help ensure that this never happens again. “
Another officer in the pursuit of the Sacklers was Letitia James, the New York attorney general.
“Since Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy for nearly two years, the company and the Sackler family have used every possible delaying tactic and abused the courts – all to protect their wrongdoing,” she said. “While this deal isn’t perfect, we’re delivering $ 4.5 billion to opioid-hit communities on an accelerated schedule and getting one of the most harmful drug dealers in the country out of the opioid business once and for all. ”
Nine states and the District of Columbia continue to oppose the agreement. “While some progress has been made, particularly in the area of public holdings, this plan is far from fair,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. “Purdue and the Sacklers have used this bankruptcy to protect their vast wealth and to avoid the consequences of their callous misconduct. This deal, alarmingly, allows the Sacklers to walk away with their personal fortune still intact, and now allows funds already earmarked for charitable purposes to be included in this deal. We are examining all options to continue fighting this insolvency plan until all practicable options have been exhausted. “