Connecticut and New York are among at least 16 states that have not agreed to a settlement with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.
Legal officials in 27 other states, as well as attorneys for more than 2,000 cities and counties, have tentatively agreed to a plan that would see the Sacklers divest themselves of the Stamford-based OxyContin manufacturer; Purdue would then declare bankruptcy and be converted into a for-profit trust. The proceeds from the sale of drugs would go to the plaintiffs, who include more than 45 states and territories and nearly 2,300 cities and counties.
The deal, which includes additional money from the Sacklers, is valued at $10 billion to $12 billion.
In a statement yesterday, the office of Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said that it was part of a bipartisan group of 27 attorneys general that “agreed to a framework to resolve claims against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich released a similar statement.
However, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong was among those rejecting the plan, writing on Twitter: “Connecticut has not agreed to any settlement. Our position remains firm and unchanged and nothing for us has changed today.
“The scope and scale of the pain, death and destruction that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused far exceeds anything that has been offered thus far,” Tong said. “CT’s focus is on the victims and their families, and holding Purdue and the Sacklers accountable for the crisis they have caused.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James also vowed to fight on.
“While our country continues to recover from the carnage left by the Sacklers’ greed, this family is now attempting to evade responsibility and lowball the millions of victims of the opioid crisis,” James said in a statement. “A deal that doesn’t account for the depth of pain and destruction caused by Purdue and the Sacklers is an insult, plain and simple. As attorney general, I will continue to seek justice for victims and fight to hold bad actors accountable, no matter how powerful they may be.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro also rejected the deal, issuing a statement calling the apparent settlement “a slap in the face to everyone who has had to bury a loved one due to this family’s destruction and greed. It allows the Sackler family to walk away billionaires and admit no wrongdoing. We know they targeted Pennsylvanians — especially seniors and veterans — which contributed to the crisis we are dealing with today that claims the lives of 12 Pennsylvanians a day.”
An NBC News report noted that, of the 34 attorneys general it interviewed, all but one who are against the deal are Democrats, while all but three in favor of it are Republicans. Tong, James and Shapiro are Democrats, while Slatery and Brnovich are Republicans.
As for Purdue itself, it released a statement saying it “continues to work with all plaintiffs on reaching a comprehensive resolution to its opioid litigation that will deliver billions of dollars and vital opioid overdose rescue medicines to communities across the country impacted by the opioid crisis.”
Attorneys Paul J. Hanly Jr., Paul T. Farrell Jr., and Joe Rice, the executive committee co-leads from the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, which is representing the 2,000-plus communities in the civil suit against Purdue, said in a statement that they are recommending that their clients “move forward in support of the current Purdue Pharma settlement proposal that will bring desperately needed recovery resources into local communities that, for years, have been forced to shoulder the consequences, tragedies, and financial burden of the opioid epidemic.”
However, the lawyers added: “While this agreement is good progress, we will maintain our aggressive preparation for October’s federal bellwether trial against a host of other opioid industry manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies to put their behavior on full display for the public.”