MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The State of Tennessee is reportedly willing to take the deal offered this week by Purdue Pharma to settle opioid epedemic lawsuits against the pharmacuetical giant.
However, the Associated Press reports only about half of the roughly 2,000 state and local governments pursuing the lawsuit favor the deal. Detractors say the agreement on offer doesn't sufficiently punish the company's owners, the Sackler family, for their part in causing the opioid crisis.
Even if a settlement can be reached with Purdue Pharma at the national level, look for in-state squabbling to continue over how any future multi-billion dollar settlement is spent.
East Tennessee District Attorney Barry Staubus is purusing the lawsuit on behalf of Sullivan County. The county is one of many Tennessee municipalities who are parties to the lawsuit. Staubus says he’ll oppose any deal that lets the state decide how much money his county gets.
“We would have a responsibility and a duty, an obligation ...to make sure that we get the money in the right places for the right people.”
Lawsuit documents show that in 2012 alone, 108 million opioid pills were distributed in Sullivan County. Currently, Staubus says roughly one child in four born there is drug addicted.
Purdue Pharma is threatening to file for backruptcy if the current deal isn't accepted, a move that would greatly complicate negotiations.