Listen: Purdue Pharma, Epidemic., Three Billion Dollars discussed on PBS NewsHour
"Of death and billions of dollars an opioid manufacturer pays for the epidemic. what can the special election in North Carolina tell us about the race for the White House another challenger appears mark Sanford on why he is contesting president trump for the Republican nomination. the hurricane is over but the damage remains a difficult path of recovery in the Bahamas and much more. the opioid crisis has left a huge toll and permanent scar across America in the lives of many families and individuals the centers for disease control has estimated that as many as four hundred thousand people died in the US since the late nineties from prescription and illegal opioids now the first comprehensive settlement against a key manufacturer appears to have been reached more than twenty states and more than two thousand cities and counties have reportedly reached a deal with Purdue pharma that's the manufacturer of oxycontin the case against the company was expected to go to court next month now as I'm in a vase reports there are some asking whether this settlement is enough Judy to be clear the deal is not yet finalized but plaintiff lawyers and Purdue pharma have confirmed they are working on a settlement of the settlement will reportedly include a pay out of up to twelve billion dollars to states cities and counties over a number of years three billion dollars from the Sackler family directly which owns Purdue pharma this actors but also give up control of Purdue pharma there would be a major change for the company as well former would declare bankruptcy it would then be converted into a public trust focused on combatting the opioid epidemic several attorneys general said this was a settlement in the best interest of their communities but others are against it including William Tong the Connecticut Attorney General produce farmers headquarters are in his state and he joins us live now Attorney General Tom thank you for being with us tonight let's just begin with the big question why are you opposed to this tentative settlement. well thank you for having me here tonight I'm not I'm I'm opposed because on the scale and the depth of the destruction the pain on the death that has been caused by Purdue and the sack there's far exceeds this purported deal in proposed deal and let's just be clear no one to my knowledge has offered twelve billion dollars guaranteed in cash or ten billion dollars for that matter the basis of this is a three billion dollar guarantee from the Sackler's and beyond that we don't know anymore and that just doesn't cut it the sac was have a real opportunity here in Purdue has an opportunity to make this right and to begin to meet their obligation to fund vital investments in addiction science treatment and prevention because they said they started this fire and they poured gasoline on it and instead of trying to help put it out with all of the states they're choosing to watch it burn well let's start with the Sackler family there you mentioned that there is a three billion dollar offer from them as part of this tentative deal how much more would you like to see from that. I'd like to see them meet their obligation to fund treatment and prevention and to really start to tackle this problem this is frankly just a down payment and and there's so much more to be done and we've been very clear about our principles and I think that our beliefs are shared by a number of states that produce pharma and this actors have to get out of the opioid business completely that Purdue pharma has to get shut down that it can't continue as a going for profit company well Sir let me just point out that that new pharma let me just point out as part of the reporting so far the factor family would give up control of Purdue pharma and pretty former would go into bankruptcy so what you said you want the second for me to meet their obligation what is the number that you're looking for when you are in talks with them I don't know she tions are on going how would they meet that obligation in your mind. I don't think that's clear that under the terms of what's been reported on and and I'm not going to comment on specific negotiations but it's clear to me that there has not been an agreement to shut down produce pharma and for Purdue management and the sack list to get out of the opioid business completely in the US and abroad never to return I don't think that that's been offered and I don't think that's been agreed upon with respect to the dollars it's just clear to me that what's been offered is insufficient and and the scale of what is the largest public health crisis at least in my lifetime isn't meant by three billion dollars or something approximating that and and certainly there's been no offer of something like ten or twelve billion dollars that's been reported by the press any suggestion that there's an offer of that size in guaranteed committed dollars to treatment and prevention is inaccurate they were there are several people who will say look three billion dollars as a starting point you're not being specific with how much money you would like to see but those same victims and families that you say need your help three billion dollars would begin to help and this would not end the path for accountability there are still several other litigation paths ahead what do you say to that. it would it would it be given to help but it doesn't do enough and the fact is Purdue pharma pled guilty to federal criminal charges in two thousand and seven and after that Purdue pharma enable the Sackler family to siphon off billions upon billions of dollars well north of three billion dollars out of the company to line their own pockets and they prioritized profits in protecting their own wealth over confronting a crisis that they led the way on and help to create in this country that cost by the way more than a thousand lives in Connecticut just last year and even more this year and billions and billions in damages not just across the country but in Connecticut alone I turned out all actually ask you as well though even if this does not move ahead there are several other players in this field and I apologize we have less than a minute left but there is another trial a federal trial in October including a number of other opiate manufacturers and distributors and pharmacies in in other words this is not the only player so why not move with what you can now to get the money that could be available now and then pursue other paths against other players. because in our view based on what we know of the billions of dollars that the Sackler's took out of the company because of the tremendous damage that they have done and the scope and the scale of the death and destruction and the pain that came at their hand what's been offered some so far doesn't even begin to me what they owe the people of Connecticut and the people of this country and the damage that they have cost far exceeds any offer that I have seen that is Connecticut Attorney General William Tong joining us tonight thank you very much. thank you. nearly a year after the twenty."