SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon will receive millions as part of two national opioid settlements, according to the Oregon Department of Justice.
On Thursday, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced a settlement with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family that will deliver up to $6 billion nationally for their role in the opioid epidemic. Oregon will receive up to $97 million in the settlement, which will be used for opioid treatment and prevention.
This follows the $26 billion opioid agreement against the three largest distributors of opioids — McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health — and drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. Oregon will receive about $329 million from the settlement, the announcement stated.
This means Oregon will receive $426 million from the two opioid settlements. Oregon was also part of the lead group of attorneys general negotiating both settlements.
“Purdue Pharma’s original bankruptcy plan failed to achieve justice for the millions of Americans who have been victims of the Sackler’s greed,” Rosenblum said. “This family-owned company profited handsomely for decades while their conduct continued to lead to addiction and death of millions, including thousands of Oregonians. While these tragedies can never be undone, today’s settlement — which still needs court approval — is a vast improvement and results in significant benefit to all the country.”
She added, “Oregon has been at the negotiating table every step of the way, and I am especially grateful to Senior Assistant Attorney General David Hart who has spent countless hours at the negotiating table — right up to this morning.”
According to the announcement, the settlement keeps intact provisions of the Purdue bankruptcy plan that forces the company to be dissolved or sold by 2024 and bans the Sackler family from the opioid business and requires Purdue to publicly disclose additional records. It also requires the Sackler family to make a statement of regret and allow museums and other institutions to remove the Sackler name from buildings and scholarships.
The agreement — and the prior bankruptcy plan — also does not release the Sackler family from potential future criminal liability, said Oregon’s DOJ.
The AG’s office noted that last July, Oregon and eight other attorneys general appealed to a federal judge to reject Purdue Pharma’s proposed bankruptcy plan, which includes a lifetime legal shield for the company’s owners, the Sackler family.
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of an intensive court-ordered mediation, which began on January 3. The mediation was extended twice and included dozens of negotiation sessions with nine attorneys general and their staff, with Judge Shelley C. Chapman serving as mediator,” the state’s Department of Justice said.
As for the Purdue settlement, highlights include the Sackler family paying $1 billion above the previous bankruptcy plan, as well as an additional $175 million which was previously conditioned on certain approvals.
The final payments are spread over 18 years, with larger payments frontloaded so that states will receive more money sooner as compared to the previous bankruptcy plan.
The Sackler family must also pay up to an additional $500 million in the event their asset sales reach a specified benchmark, according to Oregon’s DOJ.
This isn’t the first time Oregon has been involved in an opioid settlement.
In 2007, Oregon and 25 other states settled the first multi-state lawsuit with Purdue Pharma. The state then again sued Purdue in 2018 for, “Violating the 2007 agreement and deceptively marketing OxyContin to Oregon seniors and misrepresenting the risks of the drug.”
A year later, the state’s department of justice said, Oregon became one of the first states to sue the Sackler family.
“Attorney General Rosenblum alleged that when it became apparent that Purdue would be crushed under the weight of its opioid liability, Purdue Pharma and eight members of the Sackler family fraudulently transferred billions of dollars from Purdue to accounts under the control of the family. Oregon subsequently sued the Sackler family once again in October 2019, alleging that they were personally responsible for the deceptive and unlawful promotion of OxyContin,” the announcement stated.
Purdue then filed for bankruptcy in September 2019.
In 2021, the bankruptcy court approved a Purdue bankruptcy plan that granted a lifetime legal shield to the Sackler family, unlawfully blocking states like Oregon from pursuing claims against the family.
The plan required the Sackler family to pay $4.3 billion over nine years to the states, municipalities and plaintiffs that sued the company. In addition to Oregon — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia appealed the plan, according to the state.