Several states including Connecticut, North Carolina and Washington have rejected a provisional deal with Purdue Pharma and members of the controlling Sackler family, which is trying to settle legal liabilities related to the US opioid crisis.
Josh Stein, attorney-general of North Carolina, said he is preparing filings to sue members of the Sackler family, accusing them as being “among the most responsible for the trail of death and destruction the opioid epidemic has left in its wake”.
He said a “large number of states” believe the members of the Sackler family need to guarantee more money to help clean up the opioid crisis, which has created huge bills for healthcare and law enforcement across the United States.
William Tong, attorney-general of Connecticut, said it had not agreed to any settlement and its position remains “firm and unchanged”. He has previously said that Purdue Pharma must be liquidated as part of any settlement. Bob Ferguson, attorney-general of Washington, tweeted that the state it is not part of the settlement that is being reported.
The public rejection of the deal came after media reports, including from the Washington Post, Reuters, and Associated Press, that the maker of OxyContin is approaching a $10bn to $12bn settlement with 22 of the over 40 state attorneys-general that have sued the company, as well as thousands of counties and cities.
Late last month, Purdue offered to settle the lawsuits. According to people familiar with the matter, their proposal would see Purdue file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A new company would continue to sell OxyContin, with the proceeds going to pay the plaintiffs.
In the proposed deal, the Sackler family would pay $3bn in cash over seven years, likely to be raised in part by the sale of their international pharmaceutical business, Mundipharma.
Neither the company nor the members of the family would admit to wrongdoing as part of the deal.
Purdue did not comment. Representatives for members of the Sackler family did not respond to a request for comment.