Sept. 12 (UPI) -- OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has reached a tentative multibillion-dollar settlement that will see the company file for bankruptcy in order to resolve lawsuits with 23 states and 2,300 local governments that sued the company over its role in fueling the ongoing opioid crisis.
Under the agreement, the Sackler family, which owns Purdue, will pay around $3 billion in cash over a period of years and relinquish control of the company in order to likely avoid going to trial, NPR reported Wednesday.
While details of the deal are scant, the agreement would mean that Purdue will file for bankruptcy while divesting from international holdings.
"Which means the people who were front and center in causing this epidemic, in my view, won't be able to go out and repeat their playbook in Asia, South American or Africa," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in an interview with NPR.
Under the deal that was negotiated over several months, Purdue Pharma would be dissolved and a new company would be formed with any future profit it gains from the sale of OxyContin going to communities struggling with opioid addiction.
"The tentative settlement [with] Purdue could help Ohio and other states that have suffered [with] the opioid epidemic but only if the funds go to address the problem," he said, emphasizing that along with prevention and treatment, money should be given to law enforcement.
The Sackler family would also admit no wrongdoing under the agreement.
For it to go through, the agreement has to be approved by Purdue's board and a bankruptcy court judge, The New York Times reported.
In a statement, Purdue Pharma said that it will continue to work with the plaintiffs to reach a "comprehensive resolution to its opioid litigation that will deliver billions of dollars and vital opioid overdose rescue medicines to communities across the country impacted by the opioid crisis."
However, while Republican attorneys general were mainly in favor of the agreement Wednesday, their Democratic counterparts balked at it.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the agreement "an insultingly weak offer" that "allows them to walk away billionaires" without admitting wrongdoing.
"Their proposed 'settlement' is a slap in the face to every person who has buried a loved one due to the Sackler family's destruction & greed," he said via Twitter. "The foundation of their entire business model depended upon the deterioration of American families [and] communities. This isn't over."
Josh Stein, the attorney general of North Carolina, said he is preparing to sue the Sackler family directly, alleging they are "among the most responsible for the death and destruction of the opioid crisis."
"If Purdue declares bankruptcy, then good riddance to this company that helped fuel the largest drug crisis in our nation's history," he said. "I, along with many other states, will not sign on to a settlement deal until Purdue commits to cleaning up the mess I allege they helped create."
Meanwhile, Yost, in an interview with The Columbus Dispatch, was quick to state that the deal is not done and negotiations are ongoing.
"The contingency was that we had to get a critical mass of attorneys general [to agree,]" he said. "Whether that happens or not is up in the air."