Sacklers boost opioid settlement offer

The family that owns the manufacturer of OxyContin has agreed to pay a lot more money to resolve thousands of lawsuits over the opioid epidemic.

A bankruptcy plan filed Monday by Purdue Pharma requires the Sackler family to contribute nearly $4.3 billion over nine years to the settlement. That’s a lot more than the $3 billion initially offered in an earlier proposed settlement that many U.S. states had opposed as too small.

In a statement, family members said, “We hope this proposed resolution will signal the beginning of a far-reaching effort to deliver assistance where it is needed.”

The opioid abuse and addiction crisis has claimed nearly 450,000 lives in the U.S. since 1999 due to overdoses from prescription painkillers and illegal substances. Investigations found that Purdue reaped more than $30 billion from opioid sales over the years that enriched Sackler family members.

The bankruptcy plan also calls for restructuring Purdue Pharma into a new entity. The plan sets up trusts that would indirectly control the entity to distribute money to states, local government and tribal organizations for opioid abatement programs and pay out individuals and private entities that have sued Purdue such as hospitals and insurance carriers.

The trusts would be funded by money from the Sacklers, insurance policies, as well as a $500 million cash infusion after the company emerges from bankruptcy and another $1 billion from the new entity’s assets and operations through 2024.

The bankruptcy plan must be approved by a federal bankruptcy judge.