Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the infamous drug Oxycontin, and its owners – the Sackler Family – reportedly offered up 10 to 12 billion dollars to state attorneys last week to settle thousands of lawsuits over the central role it played in bringing about the nation’s foremost scourge – the opioid crisis.
Under the settlement proposal, in addition to Purdue paying 10 to 12 billion dollars, the Sackler family would have to give up its ownership of the company and pay no less than $3 billion of its own money, the New York Times, NBC, and the Washington Times have all reported.
On top of that, Purdue Pharma proposed that it would declare bankruptcy and reorganize itself as a “public benefit trust” which would supply $4 billion in pharmaceuticals to local and state governments to combat opioid addiction. Lastly, the trust would reroute profits made from the sale of OxyContin to governments.
According to an NBC report, attorney generals and lawyers for the plaintiffs met in Cleveland, Ohio with representatives from Purdue Pharma, including Purdue board member David Sackler who acts as his family’s spokesman.
Forty-eight states, Washington DC, and over 2,000 counties, municipalities, and Native American governments have sued Purdue and the Sacklers for using deceptive and unethical sales techniques to market and distribute OxyContin, a highly addictive opioid painkiller to the American public. A federal judge in Ohio has consolidated the complaints.
The Sackler family is estimated to be worth roughly $13 billion. Since it began selling OxyContin to the American public in 1995, Purdue has reportedly sold more than $35 billion in the drug.
In a statement given to NBC News, Purdue said: “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,” the company told NBC News in a statement.
“The people and communities affected by the opioid crisis need help now. Purdue believes a constructive global resolution is the best path forward, and the company is actively working with the state attorneys general and other plaintiffs to achieve this outcome.”
In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that close to 48,000 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses.
According to a 2017 report by the Council of Economic Advisers, the opioid crisis cost the United States economy $504 billion in 2015. Given that the problem has only gotten worse since then, imagine what the cost per year is up to now.