Sacklers 'close' to deal to contribute additional cash in opioid settlement

An agreement could end a legal challenge for Purdue Pharma.

February 1, 2022, 11:17 AM

The family that owns Purdue Pharma is “close” to an agreement that substantially increases its financial contribution to a nationwide opioids settlement, according to a new court filing.

The filing from Judge Shelley Chapman, who is mediating a dispute between Purdue Pharma and states that objected to its bankruptcy reorganization plan, asked for an extra week to reach a deal. Tuesday had been the original deadline.

Descendants of Raymond and Mortimer Sackler initially agreed to contribute $4 billion to resolve private and public claims against the bankrupt maker of OxyContin and fund opioid relief and education programs.

“The Mediation Parties are close to an agreement in principle that provides for substantial additional consideration incremental to the $4.325 billion provided for in the Plan – an incremental amount that would be used exclusively for abatement of the opioid crisis and related matters,” the filing said.

An agreement could end a legal challenge that has prevented Purdue Pharma from exiting bankruptcy and reconstituting itself as a public benefit corporation.

“The proposed settlement requires the agreement of all Mediation Parties. In order to conclude the negotiations and address a number of remaining issues, the Mediator respectfully requests an extension of the Termination Date to February 7, 2022,” the filing said.

The mediator’s filing described intense negotiating sessions, including scores of phone calls, “hundreds of emails and text messages” and two days of in-person mediation on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 that each ran more than 12 hours.

The initial reorganization plan had been hashed out over two years. Members of the Sackler families agreed to contribute $4 billion and give up ownership of Purdue, which would become a new company with profits used to fight the opioid crisis.

In exchange for the contributions, Sackler family members were given protections from lawsuits over opioids.

Approval of that plan was rescinded by a federal judge because it released the Sacklers from legal liability even though they’re not part of the bankruptcy.

Eight objecting states also argued the $4 billion is insufficient to hold the Sackler family members accountable. They have denied wrongdoing.

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