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Vermont poised to get millions from national settlement with Purdue Pharma

A bottle the says Oxycontin on a blue table with white pills.
Keith Srakocic
Associated Press File
Purdue Pharma and its owners could pay up to $6 billion dollars to settle claims the company's practices helped fuel the opioid crisis. Vermont could get at least $26 million under the new agreement.

Vermont could receive millions of dollars under a national settlement reached Thursday with Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family. The deal still needs to be approved by a federal judge.

The new settlement comes after several attorneys general, including Vermont attorney general TJ Donovan, opposed a previous deal reached in bankruptcy court. That plan required the Sackler family to pay about $4.3 billion dollars over nine years and would grant them legal immunity from future lawsuits over Purdue’s role in creating the opioid epidemic.

A federal judge overturned the original deal in December and court-ordered medication to reach a new settlement began in January, according to the attorney general’s office.

More From NPR: Purdue Pharma, Sacklers reach $6 billion deal with state attorneys general

Under the deal, the Sacklers will pay at least $5.5 billion and up to $6 billion. The current settlement would still grant the Sacklers protection from current and future lawsuits, according to NPR.

Attorney General TJ Donovan said Vermont could get around $26 million dollars from the deal — double what the state was slated to get under the original settlement.

“We may be able to get more than that,” Donovan said in an interview. “I think there’s a couple more twists and turns on this deal as it’s worked out over the next couple of days before it goes to court.”

The money from the settlement would go toward opioid treatment and recovery programs.

The settlement would resolve Vermont’s lawsuits against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, which allege that the company fueled the opioid crisis through deceptive marketing practices that promoted Oxycontin and downplayed its risks.

More From VPR: In New Lawsuit, Vermont Seeks Monetary Damages From Company That Makes OxyContin

The Purdue settlement is the second major opioid-related settlement to be announced in recent days. Last week, the attorney general’s office announced Vermont would receive $64 million under a settlement with four companies whose business practices allegedly fueled the opioid crisis.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch with reporter Liam Elder-Connors @lseconnors

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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