Purdue Pharma and Sackler family to pay $6B to victims, survivors, states in opioid settlement
Attorney General William Tong announced Thursday Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family will pay $6 billion to victims, survivors and states for the company's role in the opioid epidemic—40% more than the previously vacated settlement appealed by Connecticut.
This settlement ends two decades of opioid lawsuits, but the victims' families aren't exactly happy.
Liz Fitzgerald of Southington lost two sons to opioids.
"Matt and Kyle were like Irish twins. They weren't twins, but they were always together," said Fitzgerald.
Doctors prescribed Kyle Oxycontin, a drug made by Stamford-based Purdue that's led to half a million overdoses.
"I didn't even know what Oxycontin was or what it could actually do," she said.
Fitzgerald joined Connecticut's attorney general to announce the nationwide opioid settlement.
The family will also give up control of Purdue. The drugmaker itself will get out of the opioid business and be reformed as a new company called Knoa Pharma LLC, owned by the National Opioid Abatement Trust, an entity controlled by creditors of Purdue.
As part of settlement, Sackler family members must attend a court hearing where victims' families will testify. Any building that bears the family name would also be able to remove it without penalty.
The settlement shields the Sackler family from all civil lawsuits, previously a sticking point for Tong.
"I'm incredibly frustrated by this," he said. "You now, frankly, having to sit here right now, I want to keep fighting too."
The Sackler family could still face criminal charges, especially after 30 million internal documents are released as part of the settlement. Tong said criminal investigators have not seen most of the new paperwork, which includes previously confidential company e-mails. He would not comment on whether the Department of Justice already has a criminal probe open.
In a legal filing, the Sacklers issued this statement: "While the families have acted lawfully in all respects, they sincerely regret that Oxycontin, a prescription medicine that continues to help people suffering from chronic pain, unexpectedly became part of an opioid crisis."
Liz Fitzgerald does not believe the family is remorseful.
"They're just trying to pay it off and be done with the families," she said.
Connecticut is getting around $100 million from this settlement. The state will set up a fund for victims to collect damages.