September 28, 2021

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Purdue Pharma Is Dissolved and Sacklers Pay $4.5 Billion to Settle Opioid Claims – The New York Times

2 min read

Another fund will compensate 130,485 individuals and families of those who suffered from addiction or died from an overdose, in amounts ranging from $3,500 to $48,000. Guardians of about 6,550 children with a history of neonatal abstinence syndrome may each receive about $7,000.

“It was take it or leave it,” said Ryan Hampton, who resigned on Tuesday as co-chairman of a watchdog committee of plaintiffs, appointed by the federal government.

OxyContin came on the market in 1996, at a time when doctors were being exhorted to recognize and treat pain, a symptom that the medical profession had tended to disregard as psychological or fleeting.

Purdue’s sales troops fanned across the country, preaching the new pain relief gospel to thousands of doctors, who began prescribing OxyContin for both acute and chronic pain. By 2000, sales of the new drug had grown to almost $1.1 billion.

But soon afterward, reports began surfacing of OxyContin pills being stolen from pharmacies and crushed and snorted. In 2007, the company and three executives pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges, paying a combined $634.5 million for minimizing the drug’s risk of addiction to doctors, regulators and patients.

The nation was pounded by a spiraling epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose deaths. By 2014, local governments began filing lawsuits against Purdue. More plaintiffs followed, eventually suing other companies across the pharmaceutical supply chain. Members of the Sackler family became the personification of the epidemic’s villains. The Sacklers withdrew $10.4 billion from Purdue between 2008 through 2017, of which they say about half was paid to taxes.

In September 2019, Purdue, facing 2,900 lawsuits, 628 of which named the Sacklers, filed for bankruptcy restructuring, which paused all claims.

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