OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is reportedly offering a sweeping settlement worth $10 billion to $12 billion to resolve claims that it bears responsibility for the nation’s opioid crisis.
The company made the confidential offer in talks involving more than 2,000 lawsuits, including cases brought by state and local governments, NBC News reported Tuesday.
The deal would settle allegations that Purdue engaged in deceptive marketing about deadly and addictive opioids to enrich itself.
It would reportedly involve Purdue Pharma and the family behind the company, the Sacklers, as well as a planned Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that would wipe out the family’s stake in and control of the company.
The settlement would include $7 billion to $8 billion from Purdue, more than $4 billion in drugs, including some used to save people who have overdosed, and at least $3 billion from the Sackler family, according to NBC.
“While Purdue Pharma is prepared to defend itself vigorously in the opioid litigation, the company has made clear that it sees little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals,” the company said Tuesday in a statement.
“The people and communities affected by the opioid crisis need help now. Purdue believes a constructive global resolution is the best path forward, and the company is actively working with the state attorneys general and other plaintiffs to achieve this outcome.”
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News of the potential deal comes a day after Johnson & Johnson was hit with a $572 million judgment in Oklahoma over allegations that it deceptively marketed opioids. Purdue agreed to a $270 million settlement in that case, rather than taking it to trial like J&J.
At least 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have taken legal action against opioid companies, according to restructuring research firm Debtwire. Those actions have included lawsuits alleging deceptive trade practices, consumer fraud, racketeering and conspiracy.
Bankruptcy court is Purdue Pharma’s likely destination because it provides a forum to manage the myriad of cases and reach settlements that can be paid out, said Sara Tapinekis, a legal analyst at Debtwire.
“That’s actually the best-case scenario for all parties involved, including the company and the company’s creditors,” Tapinekis said. “They’re talking here about a litigation trust being funded for the claimants, which would centralize all of the litigation pending before the bankruptcy court.”
Although plaintiffs likely won’t be paid in full, bankruptcy reflects “an orderly process” for delivering payouts that might otherwise be mired in protracted litigation, she said.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.