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Arizona, other states reach tentative settlement with opioid maker

(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

PHOENIX — Arizona was among 28 states that reached a tentative settlement with Purdue Pharma on Wednesday over the role the OxyContin maker played in the nation’s opioid crisis.

Mia Garcia, a spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that Arizona decided to join the settlement “because it was in the state’s best interest.”

Garcia added that no dollar amount has been finalized for the settlement, which still needs approval from bankruptcy court.

“We wanted to be one of the first states in line to get money for victims and communities that have been torn apart by the opioid crisis before Purdue files for bankruptcy,” Garcia said.

The tentative agreement and expected bankruptcy filing would remove Purdue from the first federal trial over the opioid epidemic, scheduled to begin next month in Ohio.

The lawsuits against Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue paint it as a particular villain in the crisis.

They say the company’s aggressive marketing of OxyContin downplayed addiction risks and led to more widespread opioid prescribing, even though only a sliver of the opioid painkillers sold in the U.S. were its products.

Wednesday’s announcement came just days after a group of attorneys general negotiating directly with Purdue and the Sackler family said they had reached an impasse in talks. At the time, several attorneys general said they were not confident Purdue would pay the amount promised and wanted more assurance that the money would come through.

Garcia said the Sackler family has put up at least $3 billion of its personal fortune for the settlement, with more funds expected to come following a potential sale.

Opioid addiction has contributed to the deaths of some 400,000 Americans over the past two decades.

“[The settlement] was the quickest and surest way to get immediate relief for Arizona and for the communities that have been harmed by the opioid crisis and the actions of the Sackler family,” Brnovich told The Associated Press.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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