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Sacklers to pay up to $6 billion to resolve Purdue opioid lawsuits


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: OxyContin prescription pills 40mg, bottles made by Purdue Pharma L.D. The OxyContin 40mg pills are displayed on shelves at local pharmacies in Provo (Utah), U.S.A. April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey

Jonathan Stempel, Dietrich Knauth, and Tom Hals

(Reuters] – Purdue Pharma LP, owned by the Sackler family, reached a deal to pay $6 billion to nine state attorneys general for resolving widespread litigation alleging that the drug maker OxyContin fueled the U.S. Opioid epidemic.

On Thursday, the agreement was made public in court by the mediator responsible for reviving talks between Sacklers representatives and states who had blocked previous settlements that contained a $4.3 billion cash payment.

A family reached an agreement to fork over at least $5.5Billion cash. This money will go towards resolving a crisis that led to almost 500,000 overdose deaths in the past two decades.

In a statement, the Sackler family said that OxyContin had “unexpectedly become part of an Opioid crisis.”

Family members claimed they were acting lawfully, but that a settlement would be the most effective way to resolve “serious public health crises.”

An order must be made to approve the agreement.

If family members decide to sell other assets, it could increase the transaction’s value.

Non-economic terms were also part of the settlement, including an agreement for institutions like museums to take Sackler’s name out of their facilities.

Purdue declared bankruptcy in 2019, after thousands of lawsuits against it, and the Sackler family members, alleging they contributed to the opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing its addictive pain medication.

It pleaded guilty on misbranding fraud and other charges in relation to OxyContin’s marketing between 2007-2020. The Sackler clan has denied any wrongdoing.

The deal was announced two months after a judge upended the earlier settlement with the lower proposed Sackler family cash contribution to Purdue’s reorganization plan. The Sacklers received nondebtor release legal protections in exchange.

The plan was opposed by eight states and the District of Columbia. These states, along with the District of Columbia will receive $276 millions of the higher Sackler contribution under Thursday’s settlement.

In the settlement agreement, states also agreed not to fight Purdue’s attempt to defend the Sacklers in future opioid lawsuits.

As of now, the legal shield prevents future lawsuits against the Sacklers. On Wednesday, a bankruptcy judge extended the protection to March 23rd. Purdue wants that protection to be permanent.

Purdue has now reached agreements with the 50 U.S. States and the District of Columbia. However, these agreements need to be approved by bankruptcy court. California (Purdue’s state of Connecticut), Delaware, Maryland and Oregon were the states that opposed restructuring. Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Connecticut and Delaware are also included.

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