Purdue Pharma, the company that makes the painkiller OxyContin, is offering to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits over its role fueling the opioid crisis for $10 billion to $12 billion, NBC News reported on Tuesday.
The company’s lawyers allegedly discussed the offer last week during a meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, with at least 10 state attorneys general. David Sackler, a member of Purdue’s board, represented the Sackler family. He has recently refused to accept blame for his family’s role in opioid crisis, which killed more than 400,000 people between 1999 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lawsuits allege that Purdue Pharma misrepresented the risks associated with long-term opioid use.
“The Sackler family built a multibillion-dollar drug empire based on addiction,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in May.
Under the new scenario, the family would reportedly pay at least $3 billion in a settlement. The company would then potentially move to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy and become a for-profit “public benefit trust.”
The Sacker family has an estimated $13 billion shared among several members. According to Vanity Fair, they also made more than $4 billion in profits from Purdue since 2008. David said that even his four-year-old son knew that there was something different about his family.
He told Vanity Fair: “My four-year-old came home from nursery school and asked, ‘Why are my friends telling me that our family’s work is killing people?’”
I don’t exactly believe that conversation happened, but if it did, why didn’t he feel bad enough for his son to try to atone for his family’s sins and clear their name?
Purdue Pharma told NBC News: “While Purdue Pharma is prepared to defend itself vigorously in the opioid litigation, the company has made clear that it sees little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals.”
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a lawsuit in May: “Twelve years ago, Oregon settled with Purdue for deceptively marketing OxyContin, and for blatantly ignoring the alarming rate of addiction that their drug was causing.”
She continued: “Over the past decade, the destruction that OxyContin has caused has skyrocketed...The time has come to hold these members of the Sackler family personally responsible.”