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What A Settlement By Purdue Pharma Means For The Opioid Crisis

Purdue Pharma headquarters stands in downtown Stamford, Connecticut. Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and its owners, the Sackler family, are facing hundreds of lawsuits across the country for the company's alleged role in the opioid epidemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans over the past 20 years. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A settlement between the Sacklers, its company — Purdue Pharma — and multiple state and local governments is in jeopardy after the family initially refused to give up $4.5 billion of their own wealth to settle opioid claims.

But now, NPR reports that the Sackler family “has agreed to give up “the entire value” of the privately owned firm to settle claims that Purdue played a central role in the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic,” in addition to three billion dollars in cash.

The opioid epidemic has taken an estimated 400,000 lives in the U.S. in the last two decades.

It’s now expected that the company, which produces the opioid OxyContin, will soon file for bankruptcy.

Should that happen, almost every state government and some 2,000 local governments would have to stake their claims to the Purdue’s remaining assets in bankruptcy court.

But Purdue suggested in a statement to NPR that a deal might still be in the cards:

Purdue Pharma believes a settlement that benefits the American public now is a far better path than years of wasteful litigation and appeals. Those negotiations continue and we remain dedicated to a resolution that genuinely advances the public interest.

What’s the outlook for a possible settlement?

Produced by Kathryn Fink.


Lenny Bernstein, Health and medicine reporter, The Washington Post; @LennyMBernstein

Josh Stein, North Carolina Attorney General; @JoshStein_

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