Purdue Pharma's opioid settlement plan gains favor as 15 states join

Fifteen states that were fighting against Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy plan have abandoned their opposition, NPR reported July 8.

In October, Purdue Pharma agreed to shut down its company, pay roughly $8.3 billion and plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for its role in creating and exacerbating the nation's opioid epidemic. A condition of the resolution is that the company would emerge from bankruptcy as a public benefit company.

The Sackler family, which founded and owns Purdue Pharma, agreed to relinquish ownership of the company and contribute $4.5 billion to the settlement, which will be paid over nine or 10 years and will mostly go toward a national opioid abatement program. 

Many states' attorneys general had opposed the plan, as it would grant the Sackler family immunity from future opioid lawsuits.

Fifteen state attorneys general, some of them previously among the plan's fiercest critics, have  dropped their opposition. The states are: Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

"We'll be able to more quickly invest these funds in prevention, education and treatment programs, and put an end to the delays and legal maneuvering that could possibly continue for years and across multiple continents," New York Attorney General Letitia James told NPR.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy told NPR that while the plan is not ideal, forcing Purdue Pharma to repay billions and turn over documents "will help stop anything like this from ever happening again."

Nine states and Washington, D.C., have yet to agree to the plan, according to court documents. The nine states are: Connecticut, California, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

The Sacklers have also agreed to augment their settlement payment by about $50 million, according to court documents.

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