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Home / Business / Some states skeptical of proposed opioid settlement | Highlands News-Sun

Some states skeptical of proposed opioid settlement | Highlands News-Sun



HARTFORD, Conn. – An offer by OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family to settle some 2,000 lawsuits over their contribution to the national opioid crisis is receiving increasing backlash from state and local officials who say the proposed deal does not include enough money or accountability.

Last week, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong asked that the company, which has its headquarters in the state, be forced completely out of the opioid business.

"At least Connecticut requires Purdue to be broken up and shut down, and the assets liquidated," Tong said in a statement.

He said he wants the controlling Sackler family to pay billions of dollars " they siphoned out of Purdue, "with the money going toward addiction research and treatment.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said she wants any settlement to include more money than $ 1

0 billion to $ 12 billion offered by Purdue and $ 3 Billions are offered from Sacklers, an amount that represents only part of the family's wealth. Much of the money seems to be overseas.

"We owe the families in Massachusetts and across the country to hold Purdue and Sacklers accountable, to ensure that the evidence of What they did was made public and make them pay for the damage they have caused, "Healey said in a statement.

The company and family did not respond to questions Friday about criticism of the settlement proposal, in which Purdue would file for bankruptcy and transform into a "public trust association." The trust's profits from drug sales will go to the plaintiffs during the company's settlement offer.

Purdue is also overweight in filing for bankruptcy protection on its own, an act that will set off the settlement talks involving state attorneys and attorneys representing local governments around the country.

In recent years, almost every state and around 2000 local and tribal administrations have sued for the tolls of the opioids. d epidemic. Purdue is prosecuted in most lawsuits and members of the Sackler family are named in several, including lawsuits brought by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Nevada in state courts.

The federal trial is being monitored by a Cleveland judge who has pushed for a national settlement, but has also scheduled the first trial for October. It is difficult to reach an agreement before then.

When the details of Purdue's settlement offer became public this week, some local government officials said it was not good enough.

In Delbarton, West Virginia, Mayor Elmer Spence's son and nephew are two of the more than 400,000 people in the United States who have died from opioid overdoses since 2000. If Purdue's offer of a settlement is accepted, the city would receive less than 50,000 dollars.

"There is a fall in the bucket for what is really costing this community," he said of a crisis that has entailed costs for police, ambulances and courts.

He said that residents of the city of about 500 people have become accustomed to losing loved ones: "I mean it's really a slap in the face."

At the highest end of the proposed settlement payment, Ohio could Jackson County receives $ 2 million from the Purdue settlement, though the actual number is likely to be much lower. As high as that number may sound, it would not begin to address the devastation of the epidemic in the county, said Robin Harris, who runs a Office of Dependency Treatment with Three Counties.

Officials have run out of foster homes, county prisons are out of bed, and treatment centers have long waiting lists. apart, "Harris said Friday.

Five years ago, the county human services agency had about 25 children in foster homes, a number that has since doubled. Costs also doubled, with the small agency now spending more than $ 1 million a year to place children, many of whom require expensive housing care due to the traumas they have experienced, said Tammy Osborne-Smith, director of Jackson County Job and Family Services.

More than eight of every tenth of custody cases involve a drug-addicted parent, she said.

A settlement with Purdue would come in exchange for dropping the company and Sacklers from lawsuits before the October trial, which will investigate allegations from Otoy's summit and Cuyahoga counties. Other opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies are also being sued in the federal lawsuit, but negotiations with Purdue are continuing.

The company has been strongly associated with the country's opioid crisis through the drug OxyContin, claiming that it aggressively pressured its opioid painkiller while underlining the risk of addiction.

The Sackler family has offered to relinquish control of Purdue and sell another company it owns, Mundipharma, and contributed an estimated $ 1.5 billion more to any settlement.

A person with knowledge of Negotiations who is not authorized to talk about them said that at least some states are pushing for family members to increase the contribution to $ 4.5 billion, partly because they do not believe that a sale of Mundipharma will generate as much money as Sackler estimates.

A court filed Friday by the Oregon attorney says Sacklers engaged in a decade-long effort to figure $ 11 billion out of Purdue.

Another source familiar with the talks, Purdue said at one point in the negotiations had proposed paying a settlement that was partly in cash and partly in the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, but it was a nonstarter with the states. The company's current offering includes money from profits from future drug sales, including naloxone.

A number of states are unhappy that settlement money will come from future profits from a company they owe to crisis. As the sides continue to negotiate, advocates for overdoses and their families have begun to push back and urge lawyers to reject the Purdue offer.

Some want more money, while others want no settlement as a way to force Sackler and Purdue executives responsible for the company's actions in court.

"We can't let them get off this easily," said Sean O. & # 39; Donnell of the Foundation for Recovery, a Nevada nonprofit.


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