The Sacklers contend the family is ready to hand over their personal fortune.
The Sackler family has agreed to give up “the entire value” of the privately-owned Purdue Pharma in order to settle claims that the drug maker played a central role in the opioid epidemic, meaning they are contending they’re willing to hand it all over to settle the litigation.
“Additionally, the Sacklers have offered $3 billion in cash as part of the global resolution,” wrote spokesperson Josephine Martin, Purdue Pharma’s head of corporate affairs and communications.
This is the first time Purdue Pharma or the Sacklers have publicly disclosed details related to their position in the settlement negotiations. According to Martin, the Sacklers also offered “to contribute another $1.5 billion from the sale of Mundipharma, a company owned by family members.”
State attorneys general have demanded the Sacklers pay $4.5 billion out of their personal wealth. This would force Purdue Pharma into structured bankruptcy, while dissolving the Sacklers’ overseas opioid business.
“We needed more security on the part of the Sacklers that the money they were pledging, they would in fact pay,” said Josh Stein, North Carolina’s state attorney general, unwilling to believe they’re really ready to hand over their fortune. “And we didn’t have that commitment and the Sacklers rejected those proposals.”
Martin disputed the suggestion that proposed pay-outs would not affect the Sackler family’s pockets, stating, “As 100 percent owners of Purdue, this obviously constitutes their personal wealth.” She also confirmed rumors that the Sacklers plan to file for bankruptcy if they cannot come to an agreement with plaintiffs. At the same time, Purdue Pharma has said the company hopes to reach a settlement.
“Purdue Pharma believes a settlement that benefits the American public now is a far better path than years of wasteful litigation and appeals,” an earlier statement from the company said. “Purdue is actively working with state attorneys general and other plaintiffs on solutions that have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives and deliver billions of dollars to the communities affected by the opioid crisis. Those negotiations continue, and we remain dedicated to a resolution that genuinely advances the public interest.”
“States have already begun preparations for handling the bankruptcy proceedings,” said Stein and Herbert Slatery, Tennessee’s AG.
“I won’t let them get away with their crimes,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently tweeted, evidently not believing the Sacklers will hand over their personal wealth. “I will sue them personally, so that we can dig into their personal pocketbooks.”
The Sacklers quickly become one of the richest families in the nation once sales of opioids, and particularly its drug OxyContin, took off. Once known as avid philanthropists, the institutions they had historically given to have now cut ties and are refusing any future donations. These decisions were made after public demonstrations aimed at drawing awareness around the Sackler’s profit-seeking motives at the expense of the lives of many who’ve overdosed.
If Purdue Pharma does file for bankruptcy without first reaching some kind of structured deal, experts say it could take years to sort out the remaining value of the company’s assets and determine the order of those to be compensated. Sources have also stated, however, the bankruptcy timing could be delayed if Purdue reaches a settlement or the October trial is delayed. Ohio’s attorney general recently asked a federal appeals court to halt the trial, and other AGs are likely to follow his lead.