Attorneys: OxyContin maker agrees to tentative settlement

Pharma logo at its offices in Stamford Conn

Pharma logo at its offices in Stamford Conn

"I cannot predict whether Purdue will seek bankruptcy, but all I can say is we are ready to aggressively pursue this case wherever it goes-whether it is in the CT courts or through bankruptcy", the AG added, as quoted by the Times.

Lead lawyers representing more than 2,000 cities, counties and other plaintiffs suing Purdue, along with around two dozen states and USA territories, have all but agreed on an offer from the company and its controlling Sackler family to settle lawsuits in a deal valued at up to $12bn.

He told The Associated Press the tentative settlement deal was the quickest way to get relief for communities devastated by the opioid epidemic.

But more than a dozen other states remain opposed or uncommitted to the deal, setting the stage for a legal battle over Purdue's efforts to contain the litigation in bankruptcy court. Roughly 20 states have sued the Sacklers in state court, including New Jersey, which was not part of the settlement, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

"Any decision by Purdue Pharma L.P.to negotiate a settlement in the USA would not directly affect our business", read a statement provided by spokeswoman Lisa Joyce. The company, whose OxyContin played a role in the opioid epidemic, plans to file for bankruptcy imminently and restructure under an agreement with 23 states and almost 2,300 cities, counties and tribes, according to the New York Times.

New York, Massachusetts and CT, where privately-held Purdue is based, are among the states opposed to the current offer and have reportedly pushed the family to guarantee $4.5bn.

New York, Massachusetts and CT are among the states who say they are not part of the tentative deal, the AP reports. Experts estimate as many as 400,000 people may have died from overdoses and related problems in the past several decades.

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In June 2018, Healey filed the first state lawsuit against individual members of the Sackler family as well as Purdue Pharma, alleging that they "engaged in a deadly, deceptive scheme to sell opioids in Massachusetts" and profited from the drug epidemic they helped create. Purdue and the Sacklers have denied the allegations. In this framework, Purdue's bankruptcy claim is being contemplated as a strategy to preserve the value of the company and pay out as many settlements as possible, the source added.

"A deal that doesn't account for the depth of pain and destruction caused by Purdue and the Sacklers is an insult, plain and simple", James said in a statement.

Previous reports from The New York Times, the Washington Post and NBC news said that the Sackler family would give up ownership of Purdue Pharma and pay at least $3 billion of its own money under terms of the settlement proposal.

Some 2,000 lawsuits brought by local governments, Native American tribes, unions and hospitals have been consolidated under a federal judge in Cleveland, who has been encouraging the parties to settle. The case risks a verdict with outsized damages Purdue likely could not withstand. The trust would donate to United States communities the drugs that the company developed to combat overdoses and addiction, which Purdue values at $4.45bn over 10 years.

Brothers Arthur, Mortimer, and Raymond Sackler were all doctors from Brooklyn, New York, who in the early 1950s bought a medicine company called Purdue Frederick which would become Purdue Pharma.

But Democratic Connecticut Attorney General William Tong says "the scope and scale of the pain, death and destruction that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused far exceeds anything that has been offered thus far".

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