Tentative Purdue Pharma opioids settlement falls short of nationwide deal

Remigio Civitarese
Сентября 12, 2019

Under the proposed settlement, Purdue is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and dissolve the company as it now exists, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the deal "was the quickest and surest way to get immediate relief for Arizona and for the communities that have been harmed by the opioid crisis and the actions of the Sackler family".

The settlement comes weeks before the first federal trial in the opioid litigation is set to begin in Cleveland for claims made by Cuyahoga and Summit counties. Several state attorneys general vowed to continue their legal battles against the company in bankruptcy court and the Sacklers. "A deal that doesn't account for the depth of pain and destruction caused by Purdue and the Sacklers is an insult, plain and simple".

The deal also includes the company donating drugs now in development for addiction treatment and overdose reversal. The Post values the deal at between $10 billion and $12 billion.

In March, Purdue and members of the Sackler family reached a $270 million settlement with Oklahoma to avoid a trial on the toll of opioids there.

Meanwhile, most state attorneys continue to oppose the settlement, with more than 20 suing the Sackler family separately in state court.

"This apparent settlement is a slap in the face to everyone who has had to bury a loved one due to this family's destruction and greed", said Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania's top lawyer.

The company and Sackler family won't admit wrongdoing as part of the deal, according to reports.

What is the opioid crisis?

Health Canada in 1996 approved the drug to relieve moderate to severe pain; until then, opioids had been used primarily for the seriously and terminally ill.

Purdue's board is scheduled to be briefed on settlement progress on Thursday.

The suits allege Purdue aggressively and falsely advertised OxyContin as a nonaddictive painkiller, despite knowing otherwise.

Firms including Purdue are accused of using deceptive practices to sell opioids including downplaying their addictive quality.

The clock is ticking for Purdue's bankruptcy filing - an October 21 trial in Cleveland federal court risks a verdict of damages so large the company could not withstand the blow, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

In a separate case, Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a U.S. judge to pay $572m for its part in fuelling Oklahoma's opioid addiction crisis last month.

Last year, Purdue stopped marketing its opioids in Canada, in response to the federal government calling on drug companies to suspend marketing activities associated with opioids.

Who are the Sackler family?

The company also has plans to tussle with states opposing its settlement offer in bankruptcy proceedings starting as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency.

Today, the Sacklers' fortune is estimated at about $13bn.

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