Purdue Pharma and its billionaire owners have reached a tentative agreement to settle over 2,000 lawsuits from cities and states for billions of dollars, according to the Washington Post. The company and family have been negotiating a settlement for months, although not all states suing Purdue agree with the agreement.
Who Is Suing Purdue?
The agreement will cover lawsuits from 22 state attorneys general and more than 2,000 cities and counties that have brought lawsuits against the company over its role in the opioid crisis that has ravaged America for the past twenty years. The drugmaker introduced Oxycontin on the market in the late 1990s, touting its safety and declaring it was not highly addictive. Over the years, salespeople became more aggressive and misleading, and America suddenly had an opioid addiction crisis on its hand due to overprescribing.
Purdue has already settled separately with one state, Oklahoma, for $270 million.
What Deal Has Been Reached?
Nothing is on paper yet. The settlement itself is going to be $10 to 12 billion dollars. The reports are that the final agreement will be financially devastating to the Sackler family, and even take money (another three billion) from their personal wealth. At least $1.5 billion of the funds will be paid out from the sale of the family’s international drug conglomerate, Mundipharma, according to insiders.
When it’s all said and done, Purdue Pharma would effectively go out of business. Instead of selling opioids and other drugs, the Sacklers would give up control of their company and the money left would be used as a trust that would spend money, give grants, and fund programs to combat opioid addiction across the United States.
When Will the Lawsuit Settlements Be Finalized?
The Sacklers are expected to lay this all out on paper and sign it within the week. However, there are thousands of people involved in the signing, so there may still be some twists in the road. Hopefully, the settlement will work as-is. It will be a monumental case if finalized. It will set a precedent for many other instances in which corporations disregard the health and safety of people to make a profit.