As part of the settlement deal, the Sackler family must give up control of Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue -- which will be turned into a different company that will fight opioid abuse. File Photo by Justin Lane/EPA-EFE
March 3 (UPI) -- The Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma agreed to a new settlement on Thursday to resolve lawsuits in almost every state over their connection to the opioid crisis.
The family agreed to a new bankruptcy plan with states that had been holding out on an earlier agreement. The new bankruptcy settlement will free billions of dollars for opioid addiction treatment nationwide.
Under the settlement, the Sackler family will pay as much as $6 billion -- and the deal could be worth around $10 billion over time. The Sacklers said earlier this week that they were close to increasing the total amount of the settlement to get the remaining states to sign on.
The settlement was filed in federal bankruptcy court in New York state. It still must be approved by judge Robert Drain to make it final.
The proposal would end all claims against the Sackler family now and in the future over Purdue's role in the opioid crisis. Purdue introduced OxyContin in 1995 and the painkiller has been at the center of opioid abuse in the United States virtually ever since.
As part of the deal, the family also must give up control of the Stamford, Conn.-based pharma company -- which will be turned into a different company that will fight opioid abuse.
"This settlement is both significant and insufficient -- constrained by the inadequacies of our federal bankruptcy code," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong told The New York Times. "But Connecticut cannot stall this process indefinitely as victims and our sister states await a resolution.
"This settlement resolves our claims against Purdue and the Sacklers, but we are not done fighting for justice against the addiction industry and against our broken bankruptcy code."
Connecticut, California, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia, which had declined to sign on to an earlier agreement, approved the new proposal. The other states accepted a previous settlement last year, but the deal was ultimately rejected by a bankruptcy judge.
While Purdue Pharma has pleaded guilty to criminal charges -- for misleading marketing and minimizing OxyContin's addiction risk -- the Sacklers have never taken responsibility for playing any part of the opioid crisis and they have never been charged with an offense.
Last month, hundreds of Native American tribes agreed to a settlement with opioid producers worth almost $600 million.