Sacklers willing to pay more to settle Purdue Pharma opioid lawsuits, mediator says

Members of the Sackler family who own OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma are willing to kick in more money — up to $6 billion total — to settle thousands of lawsuits over the toll of opioids as the company tries to work out a deal with state attorneys general who torpedoed an earlier settlement.

The offer of extra cash was detailed in a report filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by a federal mediator who asked the court to let her have until the end of the month to broker a new settlement.

Under the latest proposal, the Sacklers would contribute between $5.5 billion and $6 billion, an increase from the $4.3 billion they had agreed to in the original bankruptcy settlement. The last of the money would not be paid out for 18 years, and the exact amount would depend on how much the family would make from selling its international drug companies.

The additional money would have to be used to combat a crisis that has been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. over the past two decades. Part of it would be controlled by the eight states, joined by the District of Columbia, that objected to the original settlement last year even when other states agreed to it.

In exchange, members of the family would be shielded from current and future opioid-related lawsuits. That protection was contained in the original bankruptcy settlement but prompted the objecting states to file an appeal that ultimately succeeded, leading to the current round of negotiations.

The objecting states said the earlier amount of $4.5 billion did not go far enough to hold accountable members of a family that made billions from the sale of OxyContin.

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