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Purdue Pharma believed to be close to partial settlement in opioids case Purdue Pharma agrees $12bn settlement in opioids case, plaintiffs' lawyers say
(34 minutes later)
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, was nearing a partial agreement on Wednesday to resolve widespread litigation over its alleged role in fueling the US opioids crisis, and plans to tussle with states opposing its settlement offer in bankruptcy proceedings starting as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter said. Attorneys representing some 2,000 US local governments said on Wednesday they have agreed to a tentative settlement with prescription painkiller maker Purdue Pharma over the toll of the US opioids crisis.
Attorney Paul Farrell said in a text message on Wednesday that they have agreed to a deal in which Connecticut-base Purdue would pay up to $12bn and ensure the members of the Sackler family that own the company give up control.
The company and a group of family members have been sued coast to coast by US cities, counties, states and Native American tribes, accused of knowingly underplaying the risks of addiction and death from the branded opioid OxyContin. The offer is the same as one publicly reported several weeks ago. It was not clear whether the announcement signaled the end of the fraught negotiations to reach a nationwide settlement with Purdue or moved the talks into a new phase.
The company and the family have vehemently denied all wrongdoing in the current cases, but have acknowledged talks to settle the matter.
Purdue Pharma is set to tussle with states opposing its settlement offer in bankruptcy proceedings starting as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter said.
Late on Tuesday, lead lawyers representing more than 2,000 cities, counties and other plaintiffs suing prescription painkiller manufacturer Purdue, along with more than two dozen states and US territories, were close to agreeing on an offer from the company and members of its controlling Sackler family to settle lawsuits in a deal valued at up to $12bn, the people said.Late on Tuesday, lead lawyers representing more than 2,000 cities, counties and other plaintiffs suing prescription painkiller manufacturer Purdue, along with more than two dozen states and US territories, were close to agreeing on an offer from the company and members of its controlling Sackler family to settle lawsuits in a deal valued at up to $12bn, the people said.
House of pain: who are the Sacklers under fire in lawsuits over opioids?House of pain: who are the Sacklers under fire in lawsuits over opioids?
More than a dozen other states remain opposed or uncommitted to the deal, setting the stage for a legal battle over Purdue’s efforts to contain the opioid litigation in bankruptcy court, they said.More than a dozen other states remain opposed or uncommitted to the deal, setting the stage for a legal battle over Purdue’s efforts to contain the opioid litigation in bankruptcy court, they said.
States were expected on Wednesday to update a federal judge on the settlement offer’s support, which remained in flux, the people said.States were expected on Wednesday to update a federal judge on the settlement offer’s support, which remained in flux, the people said.
Purdue’s board is scheduled to be briefed on settlement progress on Thursday, one of the people said. There remained a chance negotiations could fall apart and the company’s plans, including the timing of a bankruptcy filing, could change.Purdue’s board is scheduled to be briefed on settlement progress on Thursday, one of the people said. There remained a chance negotiations could fall apart and the company’s plans, including the timing of a bankruptcy filing, could change.
OxyContin maker filing for bankruptcy may shed light on wrongdoingsOxyContin maker filing for bankruptcy may shed light on wrongdoings
Leading multibillionaire members of the Sackler family, well-known wealthy philanthropists, have declined to revise their proposed settlement contribution of $3bn over seven years and another $1.5bn or more through the eventual sale of another business they own called Mundipharma, several people familiar with the matter said.Leading multibillionaire members of the Sackler family, well-known wealthy philanthropists, have declined to revise their proposed settlement contribution of $3bn over seven years and another $1.5bn or more through the eventual sale of another business they own called Mundipharma, several people familiar with the matter said.
New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, where privately held Purdue is based, are among the states opposed to the current offer and have pushed the family to guarantee $4.5bn, the people said.New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, where privately held Purdue is based, are among the states opposed to the current offer and have pushed the family to guarantee $4.5bn, the people said.
Last weekend, the involved members of the Sacklers “refused to budge” after attorneys general in North Carolina and Tennessee presented the family with counterproposals they said had widespread support from other states, according to correspondence reviewed by Reuters.Last weekend, the involved members of the Sacklers “refused to budge” after attorneys general in North Carolina and Tennessee presented the family with counterproposals they said had widespread support from other states, according to correspondence reviewed by Reuters.
The lawsuits, which have in some cases targeted as many as eight Sacklers as well as Purdue, claim the family and company contributed to a public health crisis that claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 people between 1999 and 2017, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The lawsuits, which have in some cases targeted as many as eight Sacklers as well as Purdue, claim the family and company contributed to a public health crisis that claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 people between 1999 and 2017, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The suits allege Purdue aggressively marketed prescription painkillers while misleading doctors and patients about their addiction and overdose risks. Purdue and the Sacklers have denied the allegations.The suits allege Purdue aggressively marketed prescription painkillers while misleading doctors and patients about their addiction and overdose risks. Purdue and the Sacklers have denied the allegations.
Negotiations over the family’s contribution to a settlement have been at loggerheads. Purdue has been preparing to file for bankruptcy protection with the outlines of a settlement in hand.Negotiations over the family’s contribution to a settlement have been at loggerheads. Purdue has been preparing to file for bankruptcy protection with the outlines of a settlement in hand.
“The family supports working toward a global resolution that directs resources to the patients, families and communities across the country who are suffering and need assistance,” members of the Sackler family, including some who previously served on Purdue’s board, said in a statement.“The family supports working toward a global resolution that directs resources to the patients, families and communities across the country who are suffering and need assistance,” members of the Sackler family, including some who previously served on Purdue’s board, said in a statement.
“This is the most effective way to address the urgency of the current public health crisis, and to fund real solutions, not endless litigation,” the statement added.“This is the most effective way to address the urgency of the current public health crisis, and to fund real solutions, not endless litigation,” the statement added.
Company representatives had no immediate comment.Company representatives had no immediate comment.
One reason Purdue is eyeing a bankruptcy filing soon is to avoid a trial on 21 October in Ohio, the people said. That trial, stemming from widespread lawsuits largely brought by local governments that have been consolidated in an Ohio federal court, risks a verdict with outsize damages Purdue could not withstand, one of the people said.One reason Purdue is eyeing a bankruptcy filing soon is to avoid a trial on 21 October in Ohio, the people said. That trial, stemming from widespread lawsuits largely brought by local governments that have been consolidated in an Ohio federal court, risks a verdict with outsize damages Purdue could not withstand, one of the people said.
Opioids crisisOpioids crisis
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Pharmaceuticals industryPharmaceuticals industry
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