Attorneys general representing nearly half the states and lawyers for more than 500 local governments on Friday blasted the terms of Purdue Pharma’s offer to settle thousands of lawsuits over the nation’s opioid crisis in court filings that also said the company had funneled up to $13 billion to its controlling family.
Their legal filings said the tentative deal does not contain an admission of wrongdoing from members of the Sackler family, would not stop family members from future misconduct and wouldn’t force them to repay money “they pocketed from their illegal conduct.”
The documents say members of the Sackler family — one of the wealthiest in the U.S. — made $12 billion to $13 billion from Purdue, a higher amount than court records had previously given. The figure was in a sworn statement given last month by Jesse DelConte, a restructuring consultant for Purdue; an excerpt of his deposition did not specify over what time period those payments were made.
In a previous deposition, former Purdue chief executive Richard Sackler gave only a broad range — between $1 billion and $10 billion — that the family made from its signature painkiller, OxyContin.
Friday’s court filings object to Purdue’s request that all lawsuits against members of the Sackler family be halted as part of tentative settlement terms that are being considered in bankruptcy court in White Plains, New York. The family faces hundreds of lawsuits in state courts, including at least two dozen filed by state attorneys general.
Purdue’s filing for bankruptcy protection last month removed the company from federal litigation in Cleveland that involves some 2,600 local governments, Native American tribes, unions and hospitals. The first trial in that multidistrict case is scheduled to begin Oct. 21.
The maker of the OxyContin painkiller filed for bankruptcy after half of state attorneys general and lawyers representing local governments agreed to their settlement offer, which could be worth as much as $12 billion over time.
The bankruptcy court filings this week, most of them on Friday, showed the level of dissent over that offer among state and local governments that had been seeking a nationwide settlement.
Many of them argue that the Purdue settlement offer does not hold the Sackler family sufficiently accountable for a crisis that has contributed to more than 400,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. over the past two decades. That’s why, they argued, the state cases against the family should continue even as Purdue’s bankruptcy plays out.
Forbes has estimated that the Sacklers are one of the 20 wealthiest families in the U.S.