AGs want Sacklers to admit to Purdue’s involvement in the opioid crisis.
Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson will not accept the proposed settlement with Purdue Pharma for its deceptive sales of the highly addictive OxyContin. There are an estimated 2,600 plaintiffs suing the manufacturer, which recently filed bankruptcy, and Ferguson has said he will formally object to the settlement terms in bankruptcy court. And, other state AGs and plaintiffs’ attorneys are on the same page.
David Nachman, lead counsel for New York’s opioid litigation, said, the “proposed deal did not address how settlement funds will be allocated among governments.” He added, “settling states did not appear as interested in conducting thorough investigations of Purdue…We have different views and different experiences in terms of our aggressive pursuit of some issues, including payments to the Sacklers.”
There have been talks that Purdue is shielding itself from going belly up, even moving funds over to Swiss bank accounts. Many believe its estimated settlement figure of $10 billion, needs to be more closely examined.
Marshall Huebner, who represents Purdue Pharma, stated in response to the concern of the states AGs, “Purdue is not shielding itself from these claimants. It is giving itself to these claimants without them even having to prevail in the litigation.”
It is worth drawing attention to the fact that the settlement the company is putting on the table has no public accounting of its alleged role in fueling the crisis. In fact, Purdue is not admitting to any wrongdoing. In a recent statement, the Sackler family continued to “vigorously deny any liability” for the nation’s opioid epidemic, which accusing plaintiffs of” painting a highly inaccurate portrait” of its involvement. In the past, the company had sought to place the blame on lawmakers for not proactively combating the opioid problem.
That belies the well-documented facts around the marketing of this drug — and the withholding of
In the bankruptcy petition, the company estimates it is currently spending more than “$2 million a week on legal fees” and the lawsuits filed against it are “neither an efficient, nor an equitable, way to resolve their alleged liability.”
Ferguson said, “A trial is about accountability. It’s about money, of course, but also it’s about transparency – about what the hell this company knew and when they knew it.”
Massachusetts’ Attorney General, Maura Healey, agrees with the other AGs, recently wrote for The Washington Post, “The Sacklers would like us to believe that as part of the settlement they’re cutting a check for billions of dollars. They’re not. After ravaging communities across the country and making billions off OxyContin sales, their proposed settlement likely wouldn’t require the Sacklers to pay back a dime of the money they made from Oxycontin sales over the past few decades.” She also noted, “Our case against Purdue and the Sacklers is based on years of investigation, sworn testimony, death certificates, prescription records and thousands of internal company documents that Purdue kept secret until we brought them to light. We uncovered a scheme designed to get more patients on opioids, at higher doses, for longer periods of time. That scheme put patients and families at risk so that the Sacklers could pocket billions of dollars.”