Purdue Pharma Reportedly Agrees to Tentative Settlement in Opioid Cases

Sources say the OxyContin maker will pay $12 billion over time, and is expected to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy soon.

Purdue Pharma

Image via Getty/Drew Angerer

Purdue Pharma

Purdue Pharma has reached a tentative deal to settle 2,000-plus federal lawsuits over its alleged role in the opioid crisis, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations said the OxyContin maker has agreed to pay between $10 billion to $12 billion over time; that sum includes a $3 billion payout from the Sackler family, who own Purdue Pharma. As part of the deal, the company will continue to sell its signature opioid OxyContin; however, the proceeds will go to a public beneficiary company that will pay the plaintiffs, which include some 2,000 local and state governments as well as Native American tribes. Purdue Pharma has also agreed to donate "rescue" drugs for opioid addiction treatments.

According to the New York Times, the Sacklers will give up control of the company, which is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy soon. Purdue Pharma will then be restructured and overseen by a new—and more "transparent"—board that does not include any members of the Sackler family, who have reportedly been working on negotiations over the last several months to avoid a trial scheduled for October.

The settlement does not include a statement of wrongdoing.

But not all plaintiffs have accepted the deal. Attorney generals for states like Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut have pressured the Sacklers to quickly sell another business they own called Mundipharma. According to the Times, the AGs want the family to pay an additional $1.5 billion for the eventual sale of the business, regardless of the final purchasing price. The Sacklers refused to commit to that extra payment up front. 

"I cannot speak to other states or divulge confidential negotiations, but Connecticut has not agreed to any settlement," William Tong, the state's attorney general, said in a statement to the Post. "The scope and scale of the pain, death and destruction that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused far exceeds anything that has been offered thus far."

The lawsuits claim Pharma Perdue fueled the widespread opioid crises that has resulted in nearly 400,000 deaths between 1997 and 2017, according to data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About half of those deaths were due to the consumption of prescription opioids such as fentanyl. The deaths of celebrities like Mac Miller, Lil Peep, and Prince have been attributed to accidental drug overdoses involving fentanyl. 

Latest in Life