Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is accusing OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma of undermining the settlement agreement they reached last month.
Brnovich, a Republican, said in a court filing on Monday that Purdue has “sought to undermine material terms of the deal” made to settle litigation over the company’s role in the opioid crisis.
Brnovich didn’t provide details to back up his allegations and they come just weeks after Arizona and 23 other states tentatively agreed to the settlement, which could be worth more than $10 billion.
Under the terms of the deal, Purdue has already entered into bankruptcy proceedings and will be restructured as a trust, with future domestic profits from Oxycontin going towards combatting the opioid crisis.
The Sacklers, the billionaire scions behind Purdue, would give up ownership of Purdue and sell Mundipharma, their pharmaceutical company that markets Oxycontin and other drugs abroad. They would also give between $3 billion and $4.5 billion of their own money to the plaintiffs over seven years.
Most critically, however, the settlement would end all current and future opioid lawsuits against Purdue and the Sacklers, who continue to deny any wrongdoing.
But more than 20 other states involved in the litigation against Purdue and the Sacklers have opposed the settlement, saying it doesn’t do enough to hold the family responsible. Many of these states have since filed additional lawsuits, claiming Purdue steered up to $13 billion in profits to the Sackler family, more than three times the amount cited in previous litigation.
Following the new lawsuits, attorneys for Purdue said in court that the Sacklers may not be willing or able to cover the money they agreed to pay in the settlement if they continue to face lawsuits across the country.
Brnovich first filed suit against Purdue in 2018, joining a coalition of more than 45 states seeking to hold the maker of Oxycontin responsible for its role in worsening the opioid epidemic that has claimed more than 400,000 lives since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In his 2018 filing, Brnovich alleged that Purdue engaged in deceptive and misleading marketing to push opioids, in violation of a prior court order.
Despite his most recent filing this week, Brnovich has not yet backed out of the settlement agreement, saying in a statement Tuesday that “It’s in everyone’s best interest to secure a just and timely settlement. Purdue and the Sackler family need to take responsibility for their role in the opioid crisis.”