HARTFORD, Conn. — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Pennsylvania isn't joining a nationwide deal to settle lawsuits against Purdue Pharma over its role in allegedly fueling the opioid crisis. On Thursday morning, Shapiro announced a separate lawsuit saying certain members of the family that owns Purdue are "personally liable for the devastation of the opioid crisis."
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma reached a tentative deal Wednesday with about half the states and thousands of local governments over its role in the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic, but criticism by several state attorneys general clouded prospects for an end to litigation against the company and the family that owns it, the Associated Press reported.
Shapiro is among those balking at the deal.
"This apparent settlement is a slap in the face to everyone who has had to bury a loved one due to this family’s destruction and greed. It allows the Sackler family to walk away billionaires and admit no wrongdoing," Shapiro said, referencing the family that owns the pharmaceutical giant.
"We know they targeted Pennsylvanians— especially seniors and veterans —which contributed to the crisis we are dealing with today that claims the lives of 12 Pennsylvanians a day," Shapiro said. "I won’t let them get away with the harm they inflicted on our Commonwealth. This is far from over.”
Shapiro issued the following statement Thursday morning regarding new lawsuit:
“The Sackler family seems to be concerned with only one thing – keeping their hands on the ill-gotten gains they made while pumping our Commonwealth full of OxyContin. Through our negotiations with Purdue Pharma, it became crystal clear the Sacklers have no intention of taking any ownership for engineering an epidemic that claims the lives of 12 Pennsylvanians each day. They shamelessly came into our Commonwealth and preyed on senior citizens, veterans, and those suffering from substance use disorder. The Sacklers' mission to avoid accountability and transparency stops here. The lawsuit I filed on behalf of all Pennsylvanians seeks to require this family of billionaires, who orchestrated opioids into as many doctor’s offices, pharmacies and medicine cabinets as possible, takes responsibility for the pain they caused.”
The Associated Press reports that sources with direct knowledge of the talks say that Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue will pay up to $12 billion over time and that the Sackler family will give up control of the company.
Paul Farrell, an attorney for several local governments, said in a text message that some 2,000 have agreed to a deal that has been on the table for several weeks.
Even with Wednesday’s development, roughly half the states had not signed on, and several state attorneys general vowed to continue their legal battles against the company and the Sacklers. Roughly 20 states have sued the Sacklers in state court.
Northumberland County was among the local governments who sued Purdue, filing the paperwork on June 5. The county alleges 16 counts, including fraudulent conveyances, civil conspiracy, violations of Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, Common Law Fraud, unjust enrichment, negligence and gross negligence, negligent misrepresentation and racketeering.
In addition to Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut are among the states refusing to accept this settlement.