Purdue Settlement Could Leave Sacklers Wealthy

Opioid deal might leave family with more than $1B
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2019 2:45 PM CDT
Purdue Settlement Could Leave Sacklers Wealthy
The Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, also owns the Rooksnest estate near Lambourn, England.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

OxyContin made the Sacklers fabulously wealthy. Even after a multibillion-dollar settlement of 2,000 lawsuits against the family and its company, they could still be. Under the $10 billion to $12 billion deal under negotiation, the Sacklers would give up control of Purdue Pharma, the Washington Post reports. The company would also become a trust fighting the opioid epidemic. Selling Mundipharma, the Sacklers' international drug conglomerate, would provide the money the family members need to settle the suits, which blame the family and Purdue for deceptive marketing of painkillers that helped bring about the opioid crisis. "No one is going to be happy after this,” said a Georgetown Law School professor. "People are going to be mad that the Sacklers aren’t going to jail, that they will have money left."

The Sacklers are worth about $11.2 billion now, Forbes estimates, shared by about 20 members in three branches of the family. The settlement will shrink that considerably, but the family still could be worth $1 billion to $2 billion. The Sacklers would be out of the drug business under the terms, and Purdue would file for bankruptcy. Over seven years, they'd have to kick in at least $3 billion. But trusts, LLCs, and investment funds that control the family's stock holdings, real estate, and other assets would be untouched. The deal isn't definite yet: The suits were filed by states, cites, counties, tribes, and others, and Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have objections. (Oklahoma prevailed in its opioid crisis lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.)

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