Attorney General outlines reasons for rejection of Purdue opioid settlement

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DelawareAttorney General Kathy Jennings issued a response to a rejected settlement with opioid maker Purdue and the Sackler family, which owns the company.

Earlier this week, Delaware filed suit against the Sacklers.

“A majority of states rejected the settlement proposed by Purdue and the Sacklers. We have heard the voices of families across the country calling for justice. Purdue’s proposal does not provide anything close to the $10-12 billion that has been touted, nor does it provide the kind of accountability we feel is necessary. We will continue our fight to reveal what this company and its executives and directors did, to shut them down, and to make them pay what they owe to our communities, Jennings stated..

The individuals named in the Delaware Superior Court complaint controlled and directed opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma’s two-decade course of falsely and deceptively marketing opioids, sowing theseeds of an epidemic that has destroyed thousands of Delawareansand ripped apart the fabric of Delaware communities.

NPR reported that talks broke down on a comprehensive settlement of the case, with states preparing for the family company to file for bankruptcy protection as a way to protect personal assets. Purdue stated that it would like to continue talks in the case in an effort to gain a settlement.

“The Sacklers have blood on their hands,” said Jennings.“More than 1,400Delawareans suffered fatal drug overdoses from 2014 to 2018, and nearly 200 Delaware lives have been claimed by addiction this year alone.We cannot bring back the loved ones, friends and neighbors who have been taken by the opioid crisis—but we can and must seek justice and accountability for the victims of the Sacklers’ avarice, callousness and fraud.”

The complaint alleges that, through their controlling stake in Purdue and their involvement in company operations, the defendants managed, controlled, and directed a decades-long pattern of aggressive sales tactics, misleading literature, and false claims.

The suit claims were meant to downplay the highly addictive nature of drugs like OxyContin, sell excessive quantities of the drug, and convince doctors, regulatory authorities, and the public that opioid addiction was the fault of users—many of whom, Purdue claimed, simply needed greater doses of prescription painkillers.

From 1999 to 2016, the number of opioids prescribed nationwide—and deaths from prescription opioid use—quadrupled.

“The Sacklers profitedexorbitantly from their self-serving tactics. From 2008 through 2013 alone, the Sackler defendants voted to pay themselves—either personally or through their holding companies and trusts—billions in Purdue profits,” a release announcing he lawsuit stated.

Jennings has a separate suit pending against Purdue Pharma and other companies in the opioidsupply chain for their role in the opioid crisis. That case is ongoing in Superior Court.

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