A settlement worth $6 billion has been reached between the billionaire Sackler family and the states and victims of the U.S opioid epidemic. The manufacturer of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, founded by the Sackler family, had previously worked out the infamous Sackler settlement agreement worth $4.3 billion in September 2021. The entire matter was declared to be a “bitter result” by the presiding judge.
It was only through the efforts of Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and the attorney generals of several other U.S states that this 40% increase in the size of the Sackler settlement agreement became possible. They argued that $4.3 billion was insufficient and proposed extended talks with the Sackler family.
According to a statement issued by Tong’s office, the holdout states and the Sackler family have come upon another deal after many negotiation sessions. The Sackler family has agreed to issue a public apology for its role in the opioid epidemic in addition to the 40% larger settlement. The family has also allowed its name to be erased from buildings and scholarships. The office further added that the Sackler settlement agreement includes support from attorney generals who had rejected the previous deal.
Wall Street Journal estimates that the Sacklers will pay anywhere between $5.5 billion and $6 billion.
The Sackler family has issued a statement regretting how OxyContin inadvertently became involved in the opioid crisis that caused much sorrow and loss to families and communities across the U.S. The prescription medicine, OxyContin still helps people suffering from chronic pain.
In return for their cooperation, the Sackler family puts an end to all current and future civil lawsuits over Purdue’s OxyContin business. This protection would not extend to criminal prosecutions, though.
Purdue’s bankruptcy plan remains the same and the company will serve as a public benefit company catering to cases of overdose and addiction. This is a crucial step in funneling Sackler’s fortune toward addiction and rehabilitation programs.
The settlement is an important landmark in national opioid litigation to hold the big pharma accountable for the 500,000 deaths since 1999 as a result of opioid addiction. The Sackler family opioid crisis still remains a dark chapter in U.S history.