Thursday, 23 January, 2020


OxyContin maker offers up to $12 B to settle opioid lawsuits

OxyContin maker offers up to $12 B to settle opioid lawsuits OxyContin maker offers up to $12 B to settle opioid lawsuits
Bennie Garza | 29 August, 2019, 14:22

Purdue Pharma and the thousands of state and local governments suing the maker of OxyContin over the nation's deadly opioid crisis are negotiating a $10 billion to $12 billion settlement under which the Sackler family would give up ownership of the company, according to published reports.

Though OxyContin is only one of several other brands of opioids on the market, lawsuits allege Purdue Pharma aggressively marketed OxyContin as the opioid of choice for its low risk of triggering addictions despite knowing OxyContin is in fact a highly addictive drug.

NBC is reporting that Purdue's lawyers discussed the potential deal in Cleveland on August 20.

More than 400,000 people have died across the country from an opioid overdose since 2000-around the same time OxyContin first began to be widely prescribed by US doctors.

The sale of United Kingdom -based Mundipharma network of companies may generate as much as US$1.5 billion. David Sackler represented the family at the meetings, NBC News said. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was the first to name family members in her suit in January.

Purdue Pharma and other players in the industry have been barraged with lawsuits, with the first federal trial scheduled to start in Cleveland in two months.

Purdue Pharma, which did not confirm a specific monetary amount to CNN, said that while it would "defend itself vigorously", it sees "little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals".

A state judge in Oklahoma on Monday issued a landmark decision directing Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for its part in that state's opioid crisis. The company is working on a solution with state attorneys general and other plaintiffs, it said.

Representatives for the Sackler family declined to comment and a representative for the state attorneys general did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plan under discussion envisions Purdue restructuring into a for-profit "public benefit trust" that would include value from drugs provided to cities, counties and states the person said. Funds from those sources would generate US$11.5 billion to cover the fallout from the opioid epidemic, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The trust would exist for at least 10 years, according to the news report. Three "well-recognized expert" trustees would be independently appointed by a bankruptcy court, according to the terms of the potential deal. In addition, the Sacklers will dig into their own pockets for at least US$3 billion in cash.

In last week's meeting, lawyers for Purdue reportedly warned plaintiffs that, if they did not take the offered deal, the company would declare bankruptcy anyway. They may pay another $1.5 billion if the sale of the company exceeds $3 billion.

A 2016 Los Angeles Times investigation of Mundipharma described how the global venture offered a new worldwide pipeline for Purdue's opioids.

The company has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

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