Purdue Pharma and the family that owns the drug manufacturer will pay an estimated $20 million to Maine for their role in the opioid crisis as part of a settlement in a lawsuit against the company.
The fine comes as the Sackler family and their company, which manufactures OxyContin, agreed to pay more than $4.3 billion for prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in communities across the country, Attorney General Aaron M. Frey announced Thursday.
The lawsuit was levied as a punishment for the company’s role in promoting OxyContin, exacerbating the opioid crisis, which has hit Maine particularly hard with 502 overdose deaths last year, the highest death toll yet recorded. Nationwide, about 500,000 people have died from opioid overdoses since 1999.
“No amount of money can undo the damage Purdue and the Sacklers have done to millions of families across Maine and the country,” Frey said.
Backed by 15 states, the lawsuit was filed Wednesday night by a mediator in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York.
The family will pay the fine over the course of nine years. Thousands of victims of the company’s misconduct will also receive compensation.
In addition to the hefty fine — one of the largest payments by individuals to resolve a law enforcement action in U.S. history — Purdue will have to make public more than 30 million documents, including attorney-client privileged communications about the original Federal Drug Administration’s approval of OxyContin and methods used to promote the drug.
The documents also include lawsuits and investigations of the drug company over the past two decades. Deposition transcripts and videos, as well as millions of other documents “every non-privileged email” at Purdue involving Sackler family members associated with the company will be handed over.
“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,” the attorney general said.
As a result of the lawsuit, the Sackler family will be banned from the opioid business, and their company will “be sold or wound down” by the end of 2024.
About $175 million in assets held by family foundations will be turned over to the trustees of a foundation, which is dedicated to minimizing the opioid crisis.