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Sackler family to pay as much as $6B in new opioid settlement with U.S. states

Members of the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, have reached a new settlement with U.S. states, bringing an end to litigation surrounding the company's role in the country's opioid epidemic, Axios reports.

In December, an earlier settlement was rejected by a federal judge following objections from eight states and Washington, D.C., whose attorneys general worried the deal didn't do enough to hold the Sackler family accountable, The Associated Press and Axios report.

The holdouts — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia — on Thursday agreed to a new deal after the Sacklers agreed to throw in more cash and accepted other terms, AP writes, noting that, "the family would be protected from civil lawsuits" (and not criminal ones) in exchange.

The settlement opens "the way for billions of dollars to begin flowing to addiction treatment programs nationwide," writes The New York Times; should a judge ultimately approve the agreement, "the Sacklers will pay as much as $6 billion to help communities address the damages wrought by the opioid crisis."

Though the family did not explicitly apologize or accept any personal wrongdoing for the epidemic, they did issue a somewhat-regretful statement regarding the settlement, AP notes.

"The families have consistently affirmed that settlement is by far the best way to help solve a serious and complex public health crisis. While the families have acted lawfully in all respects, they sincerely regret that OxyContin, a prescription medicine that continues to help people suffering from chronic pain, unexpectedly became part of an opioid crisis that has brought grief and loss to far too many families and communities," the statement reads.