That prospect all but vanished Wednesday after a bankruptcy judge conditionally approved a settlement worth an estimated $10 billion. Many families felt they didn't get the best deal.
There was no apology from members of the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma, they weren't forced to give up all of their vast fortune, and there was no chance to confront them face-to-face about the lives lost to opioids.
Instead, individual victims, thousands upon thousands of state and local governments, and other entities that sued Purdue Pharma reached an agreement in which the Sacklers agreed to pay $4.5 billion and surrender ownership of the company.
Profits from the company and the contribution of Sacklers will be used to fight opioid addiction through education and treatment programs. Victims of drug addiction may also receive payments from $3,500 up to $48,000
Families were still angry, deflated, and conflicted by the conclusion of the case.
After her son Jeff's 2017 overdose death, all she wanted was revenge. Although she still feels angry, she hopes that the settlement will bring relief to those affected by overdoses.
She said, "I understand that people disagree with this and want the Sacklers suffering." "But, the truth is that we need money to get in the states, into education and into treatment."
Over the past 20 years, half a million Americans have died due to opioids. This includes prescription painkillers Vicodin and OxyContin as well as illicit drugs like heroin and street-grade Fentanyl.
The family will be protected against any future opioid lawsuits, which was one of the most difficult-fought provisions in settlement. Although the Sacklers were not granted immunity from criminal prosecution, there are no indications that they will.
According to state attorneys general, the settlement could result in the family's wealth rising from $10.7 billion to over $14 billion over the next decade. This projection was based on investment returns and interest. The estimate was disputed by lawyers for Purdue as well as the Sackler family.