Sacklers Must Relinquish Foundations In Billion-Dollar Settlement

Members of the Sackler family will be prohibited from any new naming rights in connection with charitable or other donations during the next nine years while they pay $4.325 billion as part of a settlement with states.

The resolution to Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing also requires the Sacklers to transfer control of $175 million in assets held by family foundations to trustees of a foundation dedicated to abating the opioid crisis. The settlement was filed in bankruptcy court and still subject to the court’s approval.

The State of New York is expected to receive some $200 million, New Jersey an estimated $110 million, Massachusetts about $90 million, and Colorado and Minnesota at least $50 million each, according to announcements by each state’s attorney general. Thousands of individual victims also will receive compensation. Under the terms of the plan, the Sacklers will be permanently banned from the opioid business and Purdue, maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, will be sold or wound down by the end of 2024.

In addition to Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Minnesota, 10 other states have agreed to drop their opposition to the bankruptcy reorganization plan as part of the settlement: Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Nine states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington — oppose the agreement, in addition to Washington, D.C., according to The New York Times.

Purdue also will turn over for public disclosure the evidence from lawsuits and investigations of Purdue during the past 20 years, including deposition transcripts, deposition videos, and 13 million documents. Purdue will be required to turn over more than 20 million additional documents, including every non-privileged email at Purdue that was sent or received by every member of the Sackler family who sat on the board or worked at the company. 

Purdue will also waive its attorney-client privilege to reveal hundreds of thousands of confidential communications with its lawyers about tactics for pushing opioids, FDA approval of OxyContin, “pill mill” doctors and pharmacies diverting drugs, and about the billions of dollars Purdue paid out to the Sacklers.

“This settlement helps to bring justice to the many families in the Commonwealth who have lost loved ones to the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. Charles Anderson, president and CEO of the Dimock Center in Boston, and member of the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund Advisory Council. “It will shape public health policy and decrease the stigma associated with substance use disorder which is vital to promoting access to care for all that need it,” he said in a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. “Moreover, the disclosure of information achieved in this settlement will allow us to make sure that this never happens again.”