IL Attorney General Disappointed with Purdue Opioid Case Settlement

By Benjamin Cox on March 17, 2021 at 4:10pm

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is disappointed with the federal government’s settlement with an opioid manufacturer accused of pumping the addictive medication into pharmacies throughout the state.

Raoul expressed disappointment yesterday when reacting to the plan Purdue Pharma filed in bankruptcy court, calling the settlement unfair to opioid addicts and their families inequitable and that the settlement doesn’t hold the company accountable for its actions.

Raoul called for the plan to be amended from the $4.3 billion worth of money the Sackler Family, owners of Purdue Pharma, to be paid out in lawsuits against the company over the next 9 years. Raoul asked for a simple winding down of the company, more transparency about the Sackler Family’s misconduct in the form of more robust paperwork made publicly available, and additional money to creditors and to the states to fight the ongoing opioid crisis.

After months of negotiations, Purdue Pharma agreed late Monday to a milestone plan to reform the OxyContin maker into a public trust company overseen by an independent board no longer controlled by members of the billionaire Sackler family. As a part of the settlement, the Sackler Family was released from the lawsuits. The Sacklers were accused of pumping OxyContin, a drug the company created in 1996 as a painkiller, into specific sectors of the United States as well as coercing doctors and pharmacies to prescribe the highly addictive medication while downplaying known addictive qualities.

According to the Washington Post, the plan must be approved by Judge Robert D. Drain in federal bankruptcy court in White Plains, New York. The settlement, however, does not shield the Sackler Family from criminal charges.

Raoul was joined by 23 other attorneys general in their disappointment in the proposed settlement yesterday. According to Monday’s filing, about 130,000 personal injury claimants, including family members who lost relatives to overdoses from OxyContin, would receive compensation up to an estimated maximum of $48,000.

Purdue pleaded guilty in November to three federal felonies, including paying illegal kickbacks, as part of a settlement with the Justice Department. The settlement includes a criminal fine of more than $3.5 billion, criminal forfeiture of $2 billion, and a civil settlement of $2.8 billion.