Purdue Pharma owners 'refused to budge' on demand they give up billions to settle opioid cases: report

Purdue Pharma owners 'refused to budge' on demand they give up billions to settle opioid cases: report
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The family that owns Purdue Pharma has "refused to budge" on demands that they give up $4.5 billion of their personal wealth to reach a settlement on opioid claims against the company, NPR reported Monday.

Negotiations for a national settlement for allegedly inciting the opioid epidemic have stalled due to the Sackler family's response and the company is expected to file for bankruptcy "imminently," two state attorneys general said in an email to colleagues.

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"States have already begun preparations for handling the bankruptcy proceedings," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D) and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery (R) said in an email obtained by NPR.

"The Sacklers refused to budge and have declined to offer any counterproposal."

Purdue Pharma said in a statement that it remains hopeful for a settlement.

"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. "Those negotiations continue and we remain dedicated to a resolution that genuinely advances the public interest."

The Sackler family has become one of the richest in the country because of their sale of opioids, according to NPR. 

More than 2,000 lawsuits against Purdue Pharma have been filed, charging the company with intensifying the opioid crisis in an effort to boost sales. Next month, the company will face a federal opioid trial in Cleveland along with other drugmakers and distributors. 

States across the country are taking pharmaceutical companies to court, alleging that they focused more on the benefits of opioids than the risks of addiction when prescribing.

The number of overdose deaths involving opioids jumped six-fold from 1999 to 2017, with 68 percent of all overdose deaths in 2017 involving opioids, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Updated at 12:51 p.m.