• General
  • July 8, 2021
  • 7 minutes read

Law: 15 States Settle With Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma For $4.3B

America has an issue with opioid misuse and abuse, where in fact the epidemic has claimed nearly 500,000 lives from…

Purdue Pharma logo

America has an issue with opioid misuse and abuse, where in fact the epidemic has claimed nearly 500,000 lives from 1999-2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates. At the forefront of the epidemic has been Purdue Pharma, the maker of the OxyContin brand of opioids that’s been found guilty of shady dealings to promote and sell its opioids.

  • The opioid crisis can’t go without Purdue unmentioned, because that’s the leading seller of prescription opioids in America. The company has drawn much controversy and ire over a long list of allegations of deceptive and fraudulent practices to promote the use of its opioids to the detriment of patients who are prone to get addicted.
  • Among many allegations, Purdue in fact pled guilty last year to providing kickbacks to doctors who prescribed OxyContin opioids and fraud in disclosing false information to regulators. That guilty plea came with an $8bn penalty for Purdue, which’s owned by the infamous Sackler family.
  • Now, Purdue is back in the news after reaching a settlement with 15 states that earlier opposed a controversial bankruptcy and reorganization plan the company put together as it faced numerous legal headaches. Under the settlement terms, the Sackler family that owns Purdue will now pay $4.3bn in penalties to be disbursed across US states, barely $50mn more than the family had earlier agreed to pay.
  • Also in the terms of the settlement is that the Sacklers will relinquish control of Purdue Pharma and be permanently banned from the opioid business. The terms are that Purdue Pharma will either be sold or wound down by the end of 2024.
  • More so, Purdue Pharma has agreed to release troves of documents relating to its business that investigators have never seen before, 20 million such documents including communications with its lawyers. It’ll also post a public archive of evidence from every lawsuit and investigation into the company
  • For a top-up of $50mn, the 15 states have moved to drop their lawsuits and opposition to Purdue’s restructuring over earlier-stated concerns that the Sackler family didn’t face much personal liability for their profiting from Purdue. Now, the family will pay a total of $4.5bn, including a $225mn civil penalty with the federal government, over the span of a decade.
  • The monetary penalties levied personally on the Sacklers and Purdue as a company will be disbursed by the states to tackle the opioid epidemic in different ways.
  • Though the troubles for Purdue and the Sacklers are currently much, the family has owned Purdue spanning back decades and thus profited much from its business of aggressively selling opioids. In fact, court documents released last year put the Sacklers’ wealth at $11bn, more than double the $4.3bn they’ve agreed to pay to settle their legal woes.
  • With an $11bn fortune and much less than that to be lost to a settlement, it’s likely that the Sacklers won’t be weeping even as they lose the company that’s been in their control for over 12 decades. To note, they still maintain ownership of some drug companies based outside the US. 
  • The 15 states that settled with Purdue Pharma are namely; Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts,  Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.


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