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UPDATED: Sacklers May up Payout Amount in Opioid Settlement

— March 19, 2021

Members of the Sackler family propose higher settlement payment.

Members of the Sackler family, behind OxyContin and Purdue Pharma LP, have offered roughly $4.3 billion to resolve their opioid legal issues, which is $1.3 billion more than what was proposed at first in settlement discussions underway in the company’s bankruptcy proceedings.  Sackler family members said they will now up the payout amount, contributing $4.275 billion to help settle about 3,000 lawsuits, according to sources familiar with the case.

Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to three felonies related to the deceptive marketing of its addictive prescription opioid painkillers.  The settlement will be roughly $10 billion, with $4.275 billion from the members of Sacklers over seven years, according to court documents.  That offer will drop to $2.775 billion after a $225 million civil penalty paid to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve its investigation.

Sacklers May up Payout Amount in Opioid Settlement
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

“Today’s resolution is the result of years of hard work by the FBI and its partners to combat the opioid crisis in the U.S.,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office at the time of the DOJ’s deal.  “Purdue, through greed and violation of the law, prioritized money over the health and well-being of patients.  The FBI remains committed to holding companies accountable for their illegal and inexcusable activity and to seeking justice, on behalf of the victims, for those who contributed to the opioid crisis.”

David Sackler said earlier, during a virtual hearing in the matter, “I want to express my family’s deep sadness about the opioid crisis.  OxyContin is a medicine that Purdue intended to help people, and it has helped and continues to help millions of Americans.”

A payout amount of roughly $3.54 billion criminal penalties and $2.8 billion civil penalties from Purdue (not members of the Sackler family) will be considered in addition to the funds currently tied to bankruptcy proceedings.  Purdue agreed to a payout amount of $225 million toward a $2 billion criminal forfeiture.  Some plaintiffs are now pushing for members of the Sacklers and Purdue to consider selling the company instead of its current proposal to dissolve into a public benefit company.

“This resolution closes a particularly sad chapter in the ongoing battle against opioid addiction,” said Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Administrator Tim McDermott.  “Purdue Pharma actively thwarted the United States’ efforts to ensure compliance and prevent diversion.  The devastating ripple effect of Purdue’s actions left lives lost and others addicted.  DEA will continue to work tirelessly with our partners and the pharmaceutical industry to address the damage that has been done and bring an end to this epidemic that has gripped the nation for far too long.”

“The opioid epidemic remains a significant public health challenge that impacts the lives of men and women across the country,” said Gary L. Cantrell Deputy Inspector General for Investigations at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.  “Unfortunately, Purdue’s reckless actions and violation of the law senselessly risked patients’ health and well-being.  With our law enforcement partners, we will continue to combat the opioid crisis, including holding the pharmaceutical industry and its executives accountable.”


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