Massachusetts will receive an estimated $90 million from the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, which will cease to exist as the result of a massive lawsuit brought against the family by Attorney General Maura Healey and about two dozen other state attorneys general.
Beside the millions coming to the state for addiction treatment and prevention, the settlement requires that Purdue Pharma be "wound down" or sold by 2024 and that the Sacklers themselves be banned from the opioid business entirely. The settlement will also make "tens of millions" of documents related to the Sackler family's role in the opioid epidemic public, according to Healey's office.
"Today's resolution delivers the most important things we've been fighting for, a reckoning that exposes the Sacklers' misconduct, strips them of their power, and provides money that will be dedicated entirely to prevention, treatment and recovery," Healey said at a Thursday afternoon news conference.
Healey and 23 other state attorneys general filed the suit against Purdue and the Sacklers claiming they marketed their addictive opioid medications in ways that contributed to the nation's opioid epidemic. According to the state Department of Public Health, more than 800 Massachusetts residents prescribed Purdue's OxyContin have died of overdoses since 2009.
The Sacklers will have to pay a total of $4.3 billion to the states involved and impacted individuals over the next nine years.
"Today is very much about the A.G. and her team and the families who stood up to their peers, and to the Sacklers a year ago and said 'no, this isn't enough,'" Baker said at the news conference. Baker said that Healey and her team "stayed in the fight and in the game to secure this result today. I congratulate them for that." Healey rejected a 2020 settlement with Purdue that would have seen the Sacklers pay more but had fewer restrictions on their future business and would have allowed them to keep thier communications, documents and other data away from the public.
Healey and Baker were joined at the news conference by parents who lost children to addiction and overdoses.
"Our families can never be truly satisfied, as you know, but today goes a long way into helping with accountability and resources," said Roger Brunelle, who lost his son in 2016 to an overdose and served on a family advisory panel that worked with the attorneys investigating Purdue at the attorney general's office.
"The Sacklers have yet to apologize, they have yet to admit wrongdoing. I'm sorry that I could not get that out of them, okay?" Healey said. "I got what I could, what's afforded under the law. I hope that someday they do, or that their kids or their grandkids see fit to own up to that family's horrible legacy."