With up to $1.5 billion more thrown in to sweeten the deal, attorneys general unanimously supported a new settlement with Purdue Pharma and its founding Sackler family for helping to fuel the opioid-addiction epidemic, the Wall Street Journal reports. The $6 billion deal now has the support of the states that balked at a previous settlement that nonetheless won a bankruptcy judge's approval, only to get tossed out by a federal district judge. As before, the family didn't admit liability, but agreed to pay a minimum of $5.5 billion and a maximum of $6 billion while ceding control of Purdue, which pleaded guilty in 2020 to three federal felonies related to the marketing and sale of the painkiller OxyContin.
State and local officials, Native American tribes, hospital systems and others seeking compensation for the costs of opioid addiction have launched thousands of lawsuits against the drug industry that have moved slowly toward resolution. Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and three of the nation’s largest drug distributors agreed last week to move ahead with settlements valued at roughly $25 billion with a majority of state and local governments. The Sacklers' newly increased contribution to the revised settlement amounts to roughly 97 percent of the nontax cash distributions that Purdue made to them since 2008, the company said in court papers. A creditors' committee has said in court papers that the dividends paid to the family were part of a scheme to move money out of the company to deny compensation to future claimants. The new deal can still be challenged by individual opioid victims or by the Justice Department, which did not reply to messages seeking comment.