HARTFORD, Conn. — OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma reached a tentative deal Wednesday with about half the states and thousands of local governments over its role in the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic, but criticism by several state attorneys general clouded prospects for an end to litigation against the company and the family that owns it.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the agreement included more money from the Sackler family, which had become a sticking point during the recent talks.
“Talks are progressing rapidly, but this is the quickest and surest way to get immediate relief for Arizona and for the communities that have been harmed by the opioid crisis and the actions of the Sackler family,” Brnovich told The Associated Press.
Sources with direct knowledge of the talks say that Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue will pay up to $12 billion over time and that the Sackler family will give up control of the company. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Paul Farrell, an attorney for several local governments, said in a text message that some 2,000 have agreed to a deal that has been on the table for several weeks.
Even with Wednesday’s development, roughly half the states had not signed on, and several state attorneys general vowed to continue their legal battles against the company and the Sacklers. Roughly 20 states have sued the Sacklers in state court.
News of the tentative agreement comes as the first trial federal date draws near in the hundreds of lawsuits aiming to hold Purdue and others in the drug industry accountable for a nationwide opioid crisis.
The lawsuits assert that Purdue aggressively sold OxyContin as a drug with a low risk of addiction despite knowing that wasn’t true.