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Vermont’s Attorney General focusing in on settlement with Purdue Pharma, despite stalled negotiations

Sep 13, 2019

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan is hopeful the state will reach a settlement with Purdue Pharma over its active role in fueling the opioid crisis.

Vermont is among 48 states suing the company, and while the drug maker had been in negotiation talks with state officials, those discussions have reportedly stalled in recent days. 

The state and local governments suing Purdue, which manufacturers the opioid painkiller OxyContin, asked the company and its owners last week for a $4.5 billion settlement, which they rejected.Bottom of Form According to the rejection letter,  the Sacklers have rejected two proposals, which included a payment of $4.5 billion to creditors and the states. No counteroffers were given. The attorneys general from Tennessee and North Carolina also write they expect Purdue Pharma to file for bankruptcy protection "imminently."

As a result of this rejection, the negotiations are at a deadlock. A bankruptcy filing would likely delay payments and mean that the 2,000 state and local governments would have to seek settlement claims individually in bankruptcy court instead of as a group. 

A Purdue spokeswoman yesterday reaffirmed to CNN that the company wants to settle and "believes a settlement that benefits the American public now is a far better path than years of wasteful litigation and appeals."

But Donovan said Monday that while Vermont is prepared to litigate against Purdue in bankruptcy court, he isn’t ready to give up on the ongoing settlement talks. 

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan stated that “We’re always willing to negotiate, we’re always willing to talk, but it’s got to be a deal that works for Vermonters.” 

Donovan said that when it comes to the negotiations in Vermont’s lawsuit against the company, he believes that “staying at the table and talking till the bitter end” is the best course of action. 

As the state of Vermont focuses on finding a common road whereas a mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached, specific questions have formed focused on the specific determination the state of Vermont wants to portray to Purdue.