The family that owns Purdue Pharma, maker of Oxycontin, has rejected a demand that they give up $4.5 billion of their personal wealth to settle opioid claims against the company, say state attorneys general negotiating with the company. As a consequence, talks toward a national settlement with members of the Sackler family reached an impasse over the weekend, reports NPR. Two attorneys general directly involved in the talks predicted that the company will now file for bankruptcy “imminently.” States “have already begun preparations for handling the bankruptcy proceedings,” wrote Josh Stein, North Carolina’s state attorney general, and Herbert Slatery, attorney general for Tennessee in an email sent Saturday to other state attorneys general.
The email details an offer to the Sacklers that would have forced them to pay billions of dollars to compensate states for their role helping to fuel the prescription opioid epidemic. The deal would also have forced Purdue Pharma into bankruptcy proceedings while dissolving the Sacklers’ overseas opioid business. The drug company told NPR a deal might still be possible. “Purdue Pharma believes a settlement that benefits the American public now is a far better path than years of wasteful litigation and appeals,” the statement said. “We remain dedicated to a resolution that genuinely advances the public interest.” If Purdue Pharma does file for bankruptcy without first reaching some kind of structured deal, it could take years to sort out the remaining value of the company’s assets and determine who’s first in line for compensation.