The newly proposed deal would involve the Sackler family giving up control of Purdue, and paying at least $3 billion toward the settlement.
Purdue Pharma may be close to reaching a settlement. The OxyContin maker—named in more than 2,000 lawsuits for fueling, and then aggravating, the opioid crisis—is seeking to resolve the lawsuits through a multibillion dollar settlement, NBC News reported.
The company’s lawyers were in Cleveland last Tuesday (Aug. 20) to meet with the plaintiffs’ attorneys, including state attorneys general, to discuss the proposal, anonymous sources relayed to NBC.
The company would settle for $10 billion to $12 billion, and declare bankruptcy. The deal would involve the Sackler family giving up control of Purdue, and paying at least $3 billion toward the settlement. The family has owned Purdue since 1952.
“The people and communities affected by the opioid crisis need help now,” the company said in a statement to NBC. “Purdue believes a constructive global resolution is the best path forward, and the company is actively working with the state attorneys general and other plaintiffs to achieve this outcome.”
The company is blamed for fueling the opioid crisis by “downplaying the risks of addiction to OxyContin while exaggerating its benefits.”
The death toll of the opioid crisis has exceeded 400,000 between 1999-2017, the CDC says.
The legacy of the wealthy Sackler family—a major donor to the arts—has been tarnished by their affiliation with OxyContin. The Sackler name has been removed from the Louvre, and major institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim have agreed to stop accepting gifts from the family, following anti-Sackler rallies organized by photographer Nan Goldin, who herself is in recovery from prescription opioid abuse.
This wouldn’t be the first time Purdue had to pay for the “alleged” damage inflicted by OxyContin. In 2007, the company paid a fine of $635 million and top executives pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges that they duped regulators, medical providers and patients about the drug’s potential to be abused, as the New York Times reported.
The company also agreed to pay Oklahoma $270 million in March, avoiding the trial that just concluded this month with only Johnson & Johnson as the remaining defendant. Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay the state $572 million to offset the cost of the opioid crisis.