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Tong, Connecticut families react to new opioid settlement with Stamford-based Purdue Pharma

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Nicole Leonard
/
Connecticut Public Radio
Paige Niver, of Manchester (right), hugs Liz Fitzgerald, of Southington, in the Connecticut attorney general's office in Hartford Thurs., March 3, 2022. Both women have children affected by opioid addiction -- Niver's daughter is in recovery, and Fitzgerald has lost two sons to overdose deaths.

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and virtually all U.S. states have agreed to a new settlement of opioid lawsuits.

The deal reached Thursday would require members of the Sackler family who own the drugmaker to pay $5.5 billion to $6 billion in cash. That’s at least $1.2 billion more than previously agreed on. They also apologized. In exchange, they’ll be protected from lawsuits. A bankruptcy judge must still approve the deal.

The company, family, most states and other groups had reached a deal last year. But some states opposed it because they say it didn’t do enough to hold the Sacklers accountable. A judge rejected it on appeal.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong says the agreement brings 40 percent more than the previous settlement, which the state appealed. The state will get roughly $95 million from the deal, to be used to fund opioid treatment and prevention, he said.

“After years of lies and denial, the Sackler family must now directly apologize for the pain they have caused. They must reckon face-to-face with the survivors of their reckless greed at a public hearing. Museums and universities may now scrub the tarnished Sackler name from their walls — ensuring this family is remembered throughout history for their callous disdain for human suffering and nothing else,” Tong said in a statement. “This settlement resolves our claims against Purdue and the Sacklers, but we are not done fighting for justice against the addiction industry and against our broken bankruptcy code.”

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report. This story will be updated.