The deal eases Purdue’s path toward resolving trillions of dollars in claims and gives the Sackler family broad immunity from future opioid lawsuits.
Members of the billionaire Sackler family that own Purdue Pharma LP have agreed to a bigger opioid settlement with the handful of states that worked to overturn its prior deal.
The family has struck a deal worth as much as $6 billion with the dissenting states, a court-appointed mediator said in a report Thursday. Under the agreement, those states will drop their ongoing appeal of the previous iteration of Purdue’s plan.
The agreement eases Purdue’s path toward resolving trillions of dollars in claims by state and local governments over the company’s role in the opioid crisis. It will also give Sackler family members broad immunity from future opioid lawsuits.
“The Sackler families are pleased to have reached a settlement with additional states that will allow very substantial additional resources to reach people and communities in need,” the families said in a statement. “The families have consistently affirmed that settlement is by far the best way to help solve a serious and complex public health crisis. While the families have acted lawfully in all respects, they sincerely regret that OxyContin, a prescription medicine that continues to help people suffering from chronic pain, unexpectedly became part of an opioid crisis that has brought grief and loss to far too many families and communities.”
Members of the Sackler family and attorneys general from eight states and the District of Columbia had been in mediation since a judge in December rejected the prior deal, which was negotiated as part of Purdue’s bankruptcy.
As part of the deal, Purdue will hand over nearly all of its assets to the states, cities and counties that are suing the drugmaker over its handling of the pain killer OxyContin. Billions of dollars will also be provided to fund anti-addiction programs.
The dissenting states were not the only parties appealing Purdue’s prior settlement: crucially, an arm of the Justice Department that monitors bankruptcies also fought the deal, and that agency is not part of the newest settlement. Its challenge may still proceed in federal court.
The bankruptcy case is Purdue Pharma LP, 19-23649, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (White Plains).
(Updates with additional details throughout.)