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Virginia Gets $80 Million in Deal With Opioid Maker Purdue

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FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2020, file photo, Purdue Pharma headquarters stands in Stamford, Conn. In an agreement disclosed late Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., more than a dozen states have dropped their objections to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s reorganization plan, edging the company closer to resolving its bankruptcy case. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Twenty-four states, including Virginia, mounted legal fights against Purdue Pharma, makers of Oxycontin, earlier this year. Attorneys General in those states announced Thursday they’ve reached a resolution.

Virginia secured at least $80 million in the $4.3 billion resolution, which will fund opioid  treatment and recovery in the commonwealth. Thousands of individuals affected by the opioid epidemic will also receive compensation.

The Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma are now permanently banned from the business of opioids. And they’ll have to divulge tens of millions of documents detailing the private company’s role in the opioid crisis, largely through sales and marketing practices, as well as evidence from lawsuits and investigations of Purdue over the past 20 years. But the settlement shields the family from future lawsuits. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey led the multi-state suit.

“The Sacklers have yet to apologize,” Healey said. “They have yet to admit wrongdoing. I'm sorry that I could not get that out of them. Okay? I got what I could, what’s afforded under the law.”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring wasn’t available for an interview Thursday, but issued a statement.

“No dollar amount will ever bring back the Virginians we have lost to the opioid crisis or repair the families that have to live with the devastating effects of losing a loved one, but this settlement is an important step in our ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis,” the statement said. “It was incredibly important to me that this settlement include a disclosure agreement, so that Virginians could see for themselves the millions of documents that show the lies and deceit that Purdue and the Sacklers used for decades to sell billions of pills.”

The resolution was filed in bankruptcy court Wednesday night and is still subject to approval, which is expected next week.

The Washington Post reports 2020 was the deadliest year ever for opioid-related deaths in Virginia.  

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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