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Purdue Pharma and Sacklers pay $6 billion to settle opioid lawsuit

Purdue Pharma and its owners, the billionaire Sackler family, will pay $6 billion to several states to settle a lawsuit sparked by the devastating opioid crisis, according to court documents.

A New York state judge must now approve the deal between the maker of OxyContin and the states.

Under the terms of the deal, the Sacklers, whose cumulative net worth is estimated at $13 billion, will pay at least $5.5 billion in cash that will be used to fund treatment centers that help opioid addicts.

The Sackler family, who admitted no wrongdoing, said in a statement that they “sincerely regret” that OxyContin “unexpectedly became part of an opioid crisis.”

The lawsuit also grants the family protection from civil liability for any future civil claims, although they will not be protected from possible legal exposure.

Purdue Pharma has been accused of giving patients massive amounts of its pain reliever OxyContin while downplaying the potential for addiction and abuse, which it has denied. It filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and faced a series of legal claims over the drug.

As part of the agreement, Pudue Pharma and the Sacklers will be protected from future civil lawsuits.
As part of the agreement, Pudue Pharma and the Sacklers will be protected from future civil lawsuits.
Drew Angerer

“While the families acted lawfully in all respects, they sincerely regret that OxyContin, a prescription drug that continues to help people living with chronic pain, unexpectedly became part of an opioid crisis that has brought grief and loss to far too many families and communities,” the family statement said.

Purdue Pharma has previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges of misleadingly marketing and minimizing the risk of addiction of OxyContin.

Last summer said Dr. Richard Sackler, a former president and co-chairman of Purdue Pharma, testified in court that neither he nor the family nor the company bears any responsibility for the opioid epidemic that has killed half a million Americans over the past 20 years.

About half a million Americans have died in the last two decades because of the opioid crisis.
About half a million Americans have died in the last two decades because of the opioid crisis.
Pacific Press

US bankruptcy judge Robert Drain in September approved a reorganization plan, including a settlement of claims against the company, in which the Sacklers would pay $4.5 billion and be relieved of future liability.

In December, a federal judge threw out the settlement. US District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan said in a written ruling that the bankruptcy court did not have the legal authority to release the family from liability.

Eight states and the District of Columbia opposed the agreement. Under Thursday’s agreement, $276 million of the increased Sackler contribution will be dedicated to those states and the District of Columbia.

As part of the new settlement, the states agreed to stop fighting Purdue’s efforts to protect the Sacklers from future opioid lawsuits.

There is currently a legal shield in place to prevent the Sacklers from becoming the target of current and future lawsuits. A bankruptcy judge extended those protections Wednesday through March 23, and Purdue is trying to make those protections permanent.

Purdue now has agreements with all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, but those agreements must be approved by the bankruptcy court.

The states that previously opposed the reorganization were California, Purdue’s home state of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/03/purdue-pharma-sacklers-to-pay-6b-to-settle-opioid-lawsuit/ Purdue Pharma and Sacklers pay $6 billion to settle opioid lawsuit

DUSTIN JONES

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