OxyContin settlement 'a slap in the face', Pa. Attorney General says

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				AP

Enlarge Image AP

Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, is at the center of the opioid crisis in America.

The company also has plans to tussle with states opposing its settlement offer in bankruptcy proceedings starting as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid drug Oxycontin, has reached a tentative deal worth billions of dollars that would resolve thousands of lawsuits brought by municipal and state governments who sued the company for allegedly helping to fuel the opioid crisis. The company would then ask the bankruptcy judge to halt litigation while settlement discussions continue.

Purdue is one of the opioid makers, distributors and pharmacies named in more than 2,000 lawsuits represented in the federal trial scheduled to begin in OH next month.

"The families who were hurt by Purdue and the Sacklers have spoken loud and clear that this case demands real accountability, and I will continue to fight for that", Healey said in a statement.

New York, Massachusetts and CT, where privately-held Purdue is based, are among the states opposed to the current offer and have reportedly pushed the family to guarantee $4.5bn.

Attorneys Paul Farrell and Paul Hanley, both of whom represented the conglomerate of cities and counties in the multi-district litigation (MDL) told the AP that numerous federal plaintiffs and state attorneys general "agreed to recommend the MDL claimants move forward in support of the current proposal subject to satisfactory documentation of the essential terms of the final documents", adding, "We feel good progress has and will continue to be made".

Purdue Pharma has entered the first major opioid settlement.

The lawsuits assert that Purdue aggressively sold OxyContin as a drug with a low risk of addiction despite knowing that wasn't true.

The tentative deal would relaunch the Purdue company under non-Sackler ownership. The settlement, if enacted, would mean Purdue will file for bankruptcy and divest from pharmaceutical holdings worldwide.

The American opioid crisis has left a lethal mark.

Company representatives had no immediate comment.

A court filing made public in MA this year asserts that members of the Sackler family were paid more than $4 billion by Purdue from 2007 to 2018.

Some 2,000 lawsuits brought by local governments, Native American tribes, unions and hospitals have been consolidated under a federal judge in Cleveland, who has been encouraging the parties to settle.

Purdue's current proposal envisions it using bankruptcy proceedings to transform into a public trust with a board selected by court-appointed trustees.

The deal also includes the company donating drugs now in development for addiction treatment and overdose reversal.

More than a dozen other drug makers, distributors and pharmacy chains still face a federal opioid trial next month in OH that's considered a test case for establishing the pharmaceutical industry's liability.

"Our position remains firm and unchanged and nothing for us has changed today", Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement. This is not the end.

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