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Purdue Pharma and Sacklers reach $6 billion opioid settlement agreement with states

By Lauren del Valle, CNN Business

Purdue Pharma and the Sackler families reached a settlement with a group of states this week that would require the Sacklers to pay out as much as $6 billion to states, individual claimants and opioid crisis abatement, if approved by a federal bankruptcy court judge.

The new agreement, reached after eight states and the District of Columbia ultimately appealed a previous deal, is civil and does not provide protection to the Sackler families from any future liability relating to the opioid crisis.

If approved, the Sacklers will shell out a billion dollars more than the previous agreement.

As part of the deal, the Sackler families will allow any institution or organization nationwide to remove the Sackler name from physical facilities and academic, medical, and cultural programs, scholarships, endowments so long as the Sacklers are notified first and public statements announcing the name removal do not “disparage” the family.

Two days after the mediator’s proposal is submitted to bankruptcy court, the Sackler families will also release a pre-drafted statement expressing regret that Purdue’s opioid product, OxyContin, affected communities, but will not admit any illegal behavior or wrongdoing.

“The Sackler families are pleased to have reached a settlement with additional states that will allow very substantial additional resources to reach people and communities in need. The families have consistently affirmed that settlement is by far the best way to help solve a serious and complex public health crisis. While the families have acted lawfully in all respects, they sincerely regret that OxyContin, a prescription medicine that continues to help people suffering from chronic pain, unexpectedly became part of an opioid crisis that has brought grief and loss to far too many families and communities.”

Mediator Judge Shelley Chapman urged the bankruptcy court to allow victims of the opioid crisis to speak in court and address the Sackler families and require at least one member of each of the two branches of the Sackler Families attend the full hearing, according to the court filing.

“We’re pleased with the settlement achieved in mediation, under which all of the additional settlement funds will be used for opioid abatement programs, overdose rescue medicines, and victims. With this mediation result, we continue on track to proceed through the appeals process on an expedited schedule, and we hope to swiftly deliver these resources,” Purdue Pharma said in a statement to CNN Thursday.

Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Drain must now approve the settlement after he overturned the previous agreement over concerns it provided broad protection to third parties related to the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma.

The parties reached the settlement through court-ordered mediation that began in January, according to a press release from the Connecticut Attorney General’s office.

Purdue Pharma declared bankruptcy in 2019, putting on hold thousands of lawsuits filed against it.

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