HealthDay News — Purdue Pharma, the drug giant many have blamed for the ongoing U.S. opioid abuse crisis, has offered $10 billion to $12 billion to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits lodged against it, NBC News is reporting.
The news comes a day after the first of many pending state-driven opioid lawsuits — this one lodged by Oklahoma — ended in a judge ruling that the Johnson & Johnson company must pay out $572 million for damage caused to the state from opioid sales.
On Tuesday, NBC News reported that Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, is offering plaintiffs in more than 2,000 cases up to $12 billion to settle those claims. Two unnamed people familiar with negotiations that took place in Cleveland on Aug. 20 said the potential deal has been discussed by lawyers representing Purdue and at least 10 state attorneys general. David Sackler represented the family at the meetings, NBC News said.
The new settlement would include a plan for Purdue to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy and then reform as a for-profit “public benefit trust,” according to the purported deal, NBC News said. Included in the deal would be $4 billion in drugs, including medicines used to help people fight overdose and addiction. In addition, all future profits from OxyContin and a soon-to-be-approved overdose rescue drug, Nalmefene, would go to the cities and states if they approve the deal, NBC News said. The new trust would be overseen by independent, court-appointed “well-recognized experts” as trustees, who would in turn appoint a board of directors. The trust would exist for at least 10 years. The Sacklers would give up ownership of Purdue, two people familiar with the deal told NBC News. The Sacklers themselves as a family would put another $3 billion into the settlement fund.
If the assembled plaintiffs in the case decide not to take the deal offered by Purdue, the company will go ahead and declare bankruptcy anyway, NBC‘s sources said. But a liquidated Purdue may have much less money to offer plaintiffs.