AG Kaul: Settlement with Oxycontin maker fails to provide justice

By: - September 11, 2019 4:10 pm
Sign in front of Purdue Pharma headquarters

STAMFORD, CT – APRIL 2: Purdue Pharma headquarters stands in downtown Stamford, April 2, 2019 in Stamford, Connecticut. Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and its owners, the Sackler family, are facing hundreds of lawsuits across the country for the company’s alleged role in the opioid epidemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans over the past 20 years. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Purdue Pharma moved to tentatively settle with 23 states, as well as thousands of local governments and Native American tribes, all of which have blamed the company for playing a key role in the nation’s opioid addiction crisis. 

Purdue is the manufacturer of Oxycontin. Owned by the Sackler family, Purdue has been fighting approximately 2,500 lawsuits from nearly every state and is pursuing a bankruptcy filing.The settlement includes an agreement that the Sacklers will exit the company and turn its operations over to trustees.

Wisconsin is not among those states that are part of the settlement, estimated to be up to $12 billion. And the settlement will still need the approval of creditors and a bankruptcy judge.

Attorney General Josh Kaul explained his reasons for not settling in a statement: 

 “The Sackler family has made billions of dollars from the sale of opioids,” said Kaul. “Wisconsin has alleged that two Purdue Pharma entities and Richard Sackler contributed to the opioid epidemic through unlawful conduct. We’re committed to getting justice and, in my view, Purdue’s current position doesn’t achieve that.”

Wisconsin’s case remains open and Kaul will continue to pursue what he believes is a just settlement for Wisconsin, Department of Justice spokesperson Gillian Drummond confirmed.

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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin was the Wisconsin Examiner's founding Deputy Editor, serving from its launch July 1, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2022. She is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications before returning to journalism at the Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.