RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced Thursday a resolution of his lawsuit against the Sackler family and their company, Purdue Pharma — which will not only publicize tens of millions of documents related to their role in the opioid crisis, but also require more than $4.3 billion for prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts nationwide.
According to a statement shared by Herring’s office on Thursday, July 8, Virginia is expected to receive at least $80 million from the agreement, believed to be the largest single investment in opioid treatment and recovery in the Commonwealth’s history. A majority of that $80 million will go towards Virginia’s opioid abatement authority.
The resolution of the lawsuit by Herring — which was filed in bankruptcy court on Wednesday, July 7 and is subject to approval — requires the following actions:
- Unprecedented disclosure about the role Purdue and the Sacklers played in the opioid crisis;
- Purdue and the Sacklers to make more than 30 million documents public, including attorney-client privileged communications about the original FDA approval of OxyContin and tactics to promote opioids.
- The Sacklers to make one of the largest payments that individuals have paid to resolve a law enforcement action in U.S. history.
“No dollar amount will ever bring back the Virginians we have lost to the opioid crisis or repair the families that have to live with the devastating effects of losing a loved one, but this settlement is an important step in our ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family amassed a fortune from a pharmaceutical empire that profited off the pain and suffering of Americans and the lies about the addictive nature of their drugs.
“It was incredibly important to me that this settlement include a disclosure agreement, so that Virginians could see for themselves the millions of documents that show the lies and deceit that Purdue and the Sacklers used for decades to sell billions of pills.
“Families and communities across the Commonwealth and around the country continue to be impacted by the opioid crisis, and I will not stop fighting for them. I will not let up in going after the pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors who created and prolonged the opioid epidemic and chose again and again to put profits over human lives.”Attorney General Mark Herring
Under the terms of the resolution, officials say Purdue will turn over the evidence from lawsuits and investigations of Purdue over the past 20 years, including deposition transcripts, deposition videos, and 13 million documents, for public disclosure.
In addition, Purdue will be required to turn over more than 20 million other 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 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.
The attorney general’s office says the Sacklers will pay $4.325 billion over the next nine years. Meanwhile, thousands of individual victims of Purdue’s misconduct will receive compensation as part of the bankruptcy process.
Furthermore, under the terms of the plan, the Sacklers will not only be banned permanently from the opioid business, but Purdue will be sold or wound down by the end of 2024.
The resolution also requires the Sacklers to relinquish control of family foundations holding $175 million in assets to the trustees of a foundation dedicated to abating the opioid crisis. In addition, the Sackler family will be prohibited from requesting or permitting any new naming rights in connection with charitable or similar donations or organizations for the next nine years.
The opioid crisis has been one of Attorney General Herring’s top priorities, and as part of this work he has focused on accountability for pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors who helped create, prolong, and profit from the opioid crisis in Virginia and around the country. In addition to filing suit against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family, Attorney General Herring has also filed suit against and Teva/Cephalon for the role that they played in creating the opioid epidemic. In February, he secured a settlement with McKinsey & Company for its role working for opioid companies, helping companies promote their drugs, and profiting from the opioid epidemic. Additional multistate investigations and legal actions remain ongoing. During the most recent General Assembly Session, Attorney General Herring was successful in passing legislation that directs funds secured through his ongoing lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors toward opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery, ensuring that the most money possible goes to actually address the opioid crisis.Charlotte Gomer, Director of Communications for the Office of the Attorney General for Virginia