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AG Frey announces resolution with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family for their role in the opioid crisis
July 8, 2021
AUGUSTA - Attorney General Aaron M. Frey today announced a resolution of his lawsuit against the Sackler family and their company, Purdue Pharma, that will make public tens of millions of documents related to their role in the opioid crisis, and require a payment of more than $4.3 billion for prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in communities across the country.
The resolution of the lawsuit, which was filed in bankruptcy court on Wednesday night and is subject to approval, requires unprecedented disclosure about the role Purdue and the Sacklers played in the opioid crisis. It requires Purdue and the Sacklers to make public more than 30 million documents, including attorney-client privileged communications about the original FDA approval of OxyContin and tactics to promote opioids. It also requires the Sacklers to make one of the largest payments that individuals have paid to resolve a law enforcement action in U.S. history.
"No amount of money can undo the damage Purdue and the Sacklers have done to millions of families across Maine and the country," said Frey. "But the public disclosure required of Purdue in this agreement is important for understanding how the opioid crisis developed, and the money states are receiving for abatement is crucial for investing in prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts."
Under the terms of the resolution, Purdue will turn over for public disclosure the evidence from lawsuits and investigations of Purdue over the past 20 years, including deposition transcripts, deposition videos, and 13 million documents. Purdue will also 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. Lastly, Purdue will 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 Sacklers will pay $4.325 billion over the next nine years. While exact funding distributions have not yet been determined, it is estimated that Maine will receive approximately $20 million toward abatement over that time period. Thousands of individual victims of Purdue's misconduct will also receive compensation as part of the bankruptcy process.
Under the terms of the plan, the Sacklers will be permanently banned from the opioid business and 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. Further, 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 summary of the resolution is attached.