Purdue Pharma the maker of the painkiller OxyContin, and the multi-billionaire Sackler family are negotiating a settlement with more than 2,000 lawsuits from US states and cities filed against the company, according to US media report on Tuesday.
The settlement would include a $10 billion to $12 billion fine, for fueling the opioids crisis in the US cost the lives of more than 400,000 people through overdoses, according to government figures.
The Connecticut-based company held a 60% share of the opioid market and therefore the fine set is expected to impose on the other defendants in the case, according to their market share.
The confidential negotiation conversation in Cleveland by Purdue’s lawyers last week with 10 state attorneys general and plaintiffs’ representatives from some of the hundreds of cities and counties that have sued Purdue, NBC News reports.
The New York Times reports that under the terms of the settlement document Purdue Pharma will enter into a bankruptcy proceeding which will be reimbursed under Chapter 11 (freezing proceedings). The bankruptcy filing would turn the company into a “public beneficiary trust”, which would allow profits to go to plaintiffs, it reported.
Sackler family also will be paying $3 billion of their own money towards the settlement.
The cash in the company’s coffers will be directed towards the payment of the said fine and in addition, the new company will provide patients with the drugs she developed for withdrawal from the painkillers (and who have been approved by an FDA fast-track procedure).
The contacts between the parties have been going on for months, with the desire of the Sackler family and the company’s management not to risk a personal lawsuit against members of the family and against directors at Purdue Pharma.
For the Sackler family, who were very active in philanthropy, the lawsuit was also a socially difficult blow, as many respected institutions rejected family donation proposals because of the affair – the latest case being from the British Library, which rejected the family’s $1 million donations.
If the parties do reach an agreement, it will be the first settlement in the case under which more than 20 painkillers and distributors in the US are sued, including Israeli company Teva – which is responsible for the plaintiffs’ claim to create a real plague, which even led to the deaths of thousands of Americans.