Mediator: The Sacklers are willing to pay more at the Purdue settlement

Members of the Sackler family, which owns maker OxyContin Purdue Pharma, are willing to invest more money – a total of up to $ 6 billion – to settle thousands of opioid lawsuits as the company tries to strike a deal with the state’s attorney general who torpedoed earlier .

The offer of additional cash was set out in detail in a report filed Friday with the U.S. bankruptcy court by a federal mediator who asked the court to give it until the end of the month to conclude a new settlement.

Under the latest proposal, the Sacklers will contribute between $ 5.5 billion and $ 6 billion, compared to the $ 4.3 billion they agreed to in the original bankruptcy deal. The last money will not be paid for 18 years, and the exact amount will depend on how much the family will receive from the sale of their international pharmaceutical companies.

The extra money should be used to tackle the crisis that has linked more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. over the past two decades. Part of it will be controlled by eight states, which will be joined by the District of Columbia, which opposed the original settlement last year, even if other states agreed.

In return, family members will be protected from current and future opioid-related lawsuits. This protection was contained in the original bankruptcy agreement, but prompted the objecting states to file an appeal, which ultimately succeeded, leading to the current round of negotiations.

Opposing states said the previous $ 4.5 billion had not gone enough to prosecute family members who earned billions from selling OxyContin.

Lawyers for opioid victims and their families were concerned about where the extra money would go. Ryan Hampton, an advocate for people with opioid disorders, said it did not appear that the $ 750 million set aside for payments to victims of the crisis and their families would increase according to the latest proposal.

“The government’s budget will continue to increase as further settlement talks can continue, but there is no increase in direct payments to families and victims,” ​​Hampton said. “It’s deadly wrong and unfair.”

According to the report of the mediator, the judge of the American Bankruptcy Court Shelley Chapman, any new deal will depend on the consent of all states and the District of Columbia. She said the “overwhelming majority” had so far agreed, but did not list which ones were still being held.

The state attorney general’s office, contacted by the Associated Press on Friday, declined to comment or did not respond. A spokesman for one branch of the Sackler family also declined to comment, while a spokesman for the other side did not respond.

In a statement, Purdue said he remained “focused on achieving our goal of providing urgently needed funds to the American people to alleviate the opioid crisis.”

Earlier this week, U.S. bankruptcy court judge Robert Drane agreed to adjourn any lawsuits against Purdue and Sackler until March 3 to get more time to reach an agreement.

Source link