- The owners of Purdue Pharma — including members of the Sackler family — have reached a tentative settlement agreement in thousands of lawsuits over what accusers say is misleading marketing of OxyContin that’s been partly responsible for the US opioid crisis, the New York Times reported September 11.
- State attorneys general had previously asked the Sacklers to pay $4.5 billion, according to NPR.
- Purdue’s accusers claim the company’s misleading advertising helped ignite America’s opioid crisis, Business Insider previously reported.
- Sales of OxyContin helped the family build a $13 billion fortune.
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The Sacklers— one of America’s most controversial families — have tentatively agreed to pay out of pocket to resolve thousands of lawsuits against the family business, OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, according to The New York Times.
The tentative settlement requires the Sacklers to pay $3 billion of their own fortune in cash over the next seven years, The Times reported.
Purdue Pharma will likely file for bankruptcy and be split into separate companies, two people involved in the negotiations told The Times. A new company will continue to sell OxyContin, with all proceeds benefiting the plaintiffs.
“Purdue Pharma continues to work with all plaintiffs on reaching a comprehensive resolution to its opioid litigation that will deliver billions of dollars and vital opioid overdose rescue medicines to communities across the country impacted by the opioid crisis,” the company said in a statement emailed to Business Insider.
Purdue’s accusers claim the company’s misleading advertising helped ignite America’s opioid crisis, Business Insider previously reported. Sales of OxyContin helped the family build a $13 billion fortune.
In the process leading up to the Sacklers’ tentative $3 billion settlement, state attorneys general first asked the Sacklers to pay $4.5 billion, according to NPR. The family declined, and counter-offered a $3 billion payment, Purdue Pharma’s head of corporate affairs and communications, Josephine Martin, told NPR September 9. The plaintiffs, however, “needed more security on the part of the Sacklers that the money they were pledging, they would in fact pay,” North Carolina state attorney general Josh Stein said on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
“Purdue Pharma believes a settlement that benefits the American public now is a far better path than years of wasteful litigation and appeals,” Purdue Pharma said in a statement to The New York Times in August. “Those negotiations continue and we remain dedicated to a resolution that genuinely advances the public interest.”
In addition to being 100% owners of Purdue Pharma, members of the Sackler family are also major philanthropists. As Business Insider’s Katie Warren previously reported, there is a Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; a Sackler Center at the Guggenheim in New York City; a Sackler Educational Lab at the American Museum of Natural History; and a Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. All of these institutions have come under fire due to their relationships with the Sacklers; several have pledged to stop accepting donations from the family.