Washington (AFP)

The wealthy Sackler family seems ready to withdraw from its Purdue Pharma group as part of an agreement to avoid a trial for its role in the opiate crisis in the United States, report several media Wednesday.

The Sacklers could also shell out $ 3 billion out of the 10 to 12 that the group plans to pay to put an end to more than 2,000 complaints filed against it, according to the New York Times and other US newspapers.

The details of this deal began to leak Tuesday in the media. Purdue acknowledged "actively" negotiating an agreement amicably, without confirming the details.

Highly influential in New York's Gotha, the Sacklers built their fortune on OxyContin, a powerful painkiller accused of being at the heart of the opiate crisis, which caused 47,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2017.

Their laboratory is accused of having pushed the medical profession to overprescribe the drug while knowing its addictive effects. OxyContin has contributed to Americans' growing dependence on opiates and pushed consumers to stronger drugs, such as fentanyl and heroin.

Like other pharmaceutical companies, Purdue Pharma is called to appear in late October in Ohio, where were collected more than 2,300 complaints from local governments and those who pay the brunt of this crisis.

According to media reports, the group has negotiated an agreement to avoid this trial. In this context, members of the Sackler family, who had left the company's board of directors in March, agreed to withdraw completely.

Purdue Pharma would be placed under the bankruptcy law and its future profits would be used to compensate the plaintiffs. The group would also have agreed to give addiction medicine to patients in need.

The Sacklers, whose fortune is estimated at more than $ 13 billion, have also agreed to pay $ 3 billion out of pocket and an additional $ 1.5 billion from the planned sale of another company, Mundipharma.

Its members, who have sown their notoriety on sponsorship, had seen their star fade in recent months, several major museums, including the Tate Gallery in London or the Guggenheim in New York, having given up their donations.

Purdue Pharma had already agreed in March to an amicable settlement in Oklahoma, with a payment of $ 270 million in a case limited to that state.

The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, who had decided to go to trial on this issue, was sentenced Monday to pay 572 million dollars in Oklahoma.

© 2019 AFP