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A hitch in Purdue Pharma's OxyContin settlement

Illustration of a hand holding a small scale with pills on one side and money on the other
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Purdue Pharma is very close to a settlement with states, cities, counties and Native American tribes over its role in fueling the opioid epidemic — but part of the settlement puts those governments in an awkward position.

Driving the news: A major part of the proposed settlement would involve Purdue declaring bankruptcy and the Sackler family members conceding ownership.

  • Purdue would then become a "public benefit trust corporation, with proceeds going toward the governments bringing the lawsuits," the Wall Street Journal previously reported.

The intrigue: The same governments that have alleged Purdue's OxyContin has wreaked havoc on their communities would pocket all future OxyContin profits.

  • If OxyContin sales fall, that would result in less money going to state and local governments.

The bottom line: Purdue has threatened to enter bankruptcy regardless of whether this settlement offer is accepted, so some plaintiffs may feel pressured to take what they can get — even if it means they become the beneficiaries of painkiller sales they view to be tainted.