Perdue Pharmaceuticals admitted last year that it knowingly conspired with doctors to over-prescribe OxyContin and other dangerously addictive opioid painkillers in order to bolster profits.
And as it desperately seeks an exit from bankruptcy protection (which the company only invoked to avoid being financially ruined by thousands of lawsuits) Perdue and the Sackler Family (who are now being personally targeted by some states attorneys general) are pitching a new $10 billion settlement plan that will see the family increase its contribution to $4.3 billion, roughly one-third of the family's wealth.
The new offer is $1.3 billion larger than a $3 billion figure included as part of their initial 2019 settlement offer, which was rejected by 24 AGs and Washington DC.
Unfortunately for Purdue, their latest settlement offer lands as opioid overdoses in the US are surging. New data released by the CDC Tuesday showed overdose fatalities hit a record high of more than 81K deaths during the 12-month period ending May 2020. Thanks in part to COVID, and to the powerful synthetics like fentanyl flooding the market, the rate per overall population nationwide has never been higher.
The proposed settlement would also create a new company would sell drugs to alleviate the impact of the epidemic, such as buprenorphine naloxone, which treats opioid dependence.
The family's last offer, put forward back in 2019, was rejected by 24 states and Washington DC.
States, cities and Native American tribes across the country are eager to get a piece of the Sackler money to help offset the cost of state-provided resources for addicts and those in mental health crisis.
Notably, the Sacklers's latest offer excludes the sale of Mundipharma, which represents a massive chunk of Purdue's business. In essence, the family is hoping that taking more of the pain upon itself, and less on the company, might appease prosecutors. In a statement, Purdue said it believes there is “broad and strong support” for the plan, including from some state attorneys-general, as well as other governmental and private creditors.
If there isn't a settlement between now and then, the bankruptcy plan will be reviewed during a court hearing in August.