Purdue Pharma and Sacklers Reach $275 Million Settlement in Opioid Lawsuit

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and its owners, the Sackler family, will pay nearly $275 million to settle a closely watched lawsuit brought by the state of Oklahoma, two months before the trial was set to begin, a person close to the situation said.

Details of the agreement are to be revealed by the Oklahoma attorney general’s office at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

A spokesman for Purdue Pharma declined to comment.

So far, the trial, which includes other pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson and Johnson is still on track to begin May 28. On Monday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court turned aside a bid by the defendants to delay the start by 100 days.

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Details of the settlement were not immediately available but people with knowledge of the negotiations said it would involve a large payout from Purdue Pharma. But settling the case with a company that many believe ignited the opioid crisis also means that the public will not hear a full recounting of Purdue’s actions in promoting OxyContin to doctors and underplaying its addictive properties, including testimony by the Sackler family, who were not personally named in the state’s lawsuit.

Jan Hoffman is a health behaviors reporter for Science, covering law, opioids, doctor-patient communication and other topics. She previously wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Style and was the legal affairs correspondent for Metro. @JanHoffmanNYT

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