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Purdue Pharma, Sackler Family Reach New Settlement With 8 States for Role in Opioid Crisis

The settlement gives victims a day to publicly address members of the family that owns the pharmaceutical company

Purdue Pharma has reached a new settlement with a group of states that could ultimately be worth as much as $10 billion.

The agreement was reached in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York, on March 3.

Members of the Sackler family, which owns the company, will now contribute an estimated $6 billion as part of the settlement.

Purdue makes the painkiller OxyContin. The company claimed the drug was non-addictive and could be prescribed to treat a series of pain issues for which physicians typically avoided prescribing opioids.

Ultimately, the Stamford, Connecticut-based company’s assertion that the medication was less addictive than morphine turned out to be false.

“The company’s marketing efforts have been blamed for contributing to an addiction and overdose crisis that has been linked to 470,000 deaths in the United States over the past two decades,” reports ABC News.

The Sackler family has issued a statement of regret rather than a complete apology for the harm OxyContin had on the American public.

“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,” according to a statement from the family.

On March 9, victims will be able to address the Sacklers publicly for the first time through videoconference facilitated by the court as per the terms of the agreement.

The Sacklers have also been called to give control of Purdue Pharma to a new entity. The profits from the sale are required to be used to aid efforts to end the nation’s opioid epidemic.

While the deal does not prevent the Sacklers from facing criminal charges, they are shielded from civil lawsuits. Family members are also prohibited from challenging institutions that want to remove their names from buildings they have funded.

The agreement must still be approved by a judge. It was negotiated by attorney generals from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington as well as the District of Columbia.

“We’re pleased with the settlement achieved in mediation, under which all of the additional settlement funds will be used for opioid abatement programs, overdose rescue medicines, and victims,” Purdue Pharma told The Hill. “With this mediation result, we continue on track to proceed through the appeals process on an expedited schedule, and we hope to swiftly deliver these resources.”

The A.G. of D.C. had opposed an earlier agreement reached with Purdue because it did not do enough to punish the Sackler family for its involvement in the crisis.

“Several parents whose children became addicted to opioids said they were ambivalent — glad that more money will be available for addiction treatment, but upset that the Sacklers will remain wealthy and escape more accountability,” reports AP News.

The settlement established a $750 million fund for individual victims or their survivors. So far, an estimated 149,000 people have already made claims against Purdue and may receive a portion of the funds.

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