2021-7-9

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING REACHES RESOLUTION WITH PURDUE PHARMA AND THE SACKLER FAMILY FOR THEIR ROLE IN CREATING AND PROLONGING THE OPIOID CRISIS

~ Resolution secures unprecedented public disclosure and $4.3 billion from the Sacklers for prevention, treatment, and recovery; Virginia is expected to receive at least $80 million as its share of the settlement, what is believed to be the largest single investment in opioid treatment and recovery in the Commonwealth’s history ~

RICHMOND (July 8, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced a resolution of his lawsuit against the Sackler family and their company, Purdue Pharma, that will make public tens of millions of documents related to their role in the opioid crisis, and require a payment of more than $4.3 billion for prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts in communities across the country. Virginia is expected to receive at least $80 million as its share of the agreement, what is believed to be the largest single investment in opioid treatment and recovery in the Commonwealth’s history.
 
The resolution of the lawsuit by Attorney General Herring, which was filed in bankruptcy court on Wednesday night and is subject to approval, requires unprecedented disclosure about the role Purdue and the Sacklers played in the opioid crisis. It requires Purdue and the Sacklers to make public more than 30 million documents, including attorney-client privileged communications about the original FDA approval of OxyContin and tactics to promote opioids. It also requires the Sacklers to make one of the largest payments that individuals have paid to resolve a law enforcement action in U.S. history.
 
“No dollar amount will ever bring back the Virginians we have lost to the opioid crisis or repair the families that have to live with the devastating effects of losing a loved one, but this settlement is an important step in our ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Herring. “Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family amassed a fortune from a pharmaceutical empire that profited off the pain and suffering of Americans and the lies about the addictive nature of their drugs.
 
“It was incredibly important to me that this settlement include a disclosure agreement, so that Virginians could see for themselves the millions of documents that show the lies and deceit that Purdue and the Sacklers used for decades to sell billions of pills.
 
“Families and communities across the Commonwealth and around the country continue to be impacted by the opioid crisis, and I will not stop fighting for them. I will not let up in going after the pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors who created and prolonged the opioid epidemic and chose again and again to put profits over human lives.”
 
Under the terms of the resolution, Purdue will turn over for public disclosure the evidence from lawsuits and investigations of Purdue over the past 20 years, including deposition transcripts, deposition videos, and 13 million documents. Purdue will also be required to turn over more than 20 million additional documents, including every non-privileged email at Purdue that was sent or received by every member of the Sackler family who sat on the Board or worked at the company. Lastly, Purdue will waive its attorney-client privilege to reveal confidential communications with its lawyers about tactics for pushing opioids, FDA approval of OxyContin, “pill mill” doctors and pharmacies diverting drugs, and about the billions of dollars Purdue paid out to the Sacklers.
 
The Sacklers will pay $4.325 billion over the next nine years, with Virginia expected to receive at least $80 million, a majority of which will go towards Virginia’s opioid abatement authority. Thousands of individual victims of Purdue’s misconduct will also receive compensation as part of the bankruptcy process.
 
Under the terms of the plan, the Sacklers will be permanently banned from the opioid business and Purdue will be sold or wound down by the end of 2024.
 
The resolution also requires the Sacklers to relinquish control of family foundations holding $175 million in assets to the trustees of a foundation dedicated to abating the opioid crisis. Further, the Sackler family will be prohibited from requesting or permitting any new naming rights in connection with charitable or similar donations or organizations for the next nine years.
 
The opioid crisis has been one of Attorney General Herring’s top priorities, and as part of this work he has focused on accountability for pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors who helped create, prolong, and profit from the opioid crisis in Virginia and around the country. In addition to filing suit against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family, Attorney General Herring has also filed suit against and Teva/Cephalon for the role that they played in creating the opioid epidemic. In February, he secured a settlement with McKinsey & Company for its role working for opioid companies, helping companies promote their drugs, and profiting from the opioid epidemic. Additional multistate investigations and legal actions remain ongoing.
 
During the most recent General Assembly Session, Attorney General Herring was successful in passing legislation that directs funds secured through his ongoing lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors toward opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery, ensuring that the most money possible goes to actually address the opioid crisis.

 

Governor Northam Announces Extension of Expanded Child Care Subsidy Program for Virginia Families

First Lady Pamela Northam kicks off Child Care Access Month of Action to raise awareness about new resources

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia families with young children will have improved access to quality, affordable child care through an extension of the expanded Child Care Subsidy Program. Earlier this year, Governor Northam signed House Bill 2206, sponsored by Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, which established a new short-term eligibility category for parents seeking financial assistance for child care while looking for employment and temporarily increased the income eligibility criteria through July 31, 2021. The Governor has directed the Virginia Department of Education to use existing federal funding to continue covering co-payments for families through December 31, 2021.

“Access to high-quality child care is not only critical to the health and safety of Virginia’s children, but it is also important for advancing a strong, equitable recovery,” said Governor Northam. “Extending these resources through the end of 2021 will help close the affordability gap for parents and providers, allowing thousands of Virginians to return to work, support their families, and grow our economy.”

The expanded Child Care Subsidy Program makes financial assistance for child care available to families with at least one child under age five who is not yet in kindergarten, with a household income up to 85 percent of the state median income. This expansion nearly doubles the previous income threshold in many regions of the Commonwealth and is the highest eligibility level in Virginia history. Families approved for the subsidy will remain eligible to receive benefits for 12 months, or until their income exceeds 85 percent of the state median income. More than 1,000 additional Virginia families were receiving child care assistance through the expanded Child Care Subsidy Program as of July 1, 2021.

“Our team has visited programs in every region of the Commonwealth this year and the benefits of in-person instruction for our littlest learners are clear,” said First Lady Pamela Northam. “Virginia’s early educators are truly superheroes, and we want to ensure all families have access to these vital programs.”

As of June 2021, over 90 percent of licensed early childhood programs in Virginia were open, yet enrollment in the Child Care Subsidy Program was only 78 percent of what it was prior to the pandemic. The effort to continue assistance coincides with projected increases in demand for child care as parents and caregivers seek new employment or return to in-person work settings.

“Every child in Virginia is capable of success in school and beyond if they have access to the right resources,” said Speaker Filler-Corn. “I know, as a mom myself, that parents want what is best for their children. By reducing barriers to quality child care, this extension will be of great help to working families.”

The General Assembly allocated $62.1 million to the Department of Social Services and the Department of Education across state fiscal years 2021 and 2022 to expand access to the Child Care Subsidy Program. On July 1, 2021 the Department of Education became the lead agency for oversight of early childhood care and education programs in Virginia, a change that will help build a more unified and equitable system.

“Co-payments can be an insurmountable barrier for families who are already struggling economically as a result of the pandemic, said Senator Louise Lucas. “We want every parent and family in Virginia with a little learner to know that there are new resources available for quality care and education.”

On Wednesday, July 7, First Lady Northam will kick off a Child Care Access Month of Action with visits to early childhood care and education programs to raise awareness about these new resources. Information about upcoming events will be posted on here.

“School readiness begins years before the first day of kindergarten,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. James Lane. “We are dedicated to improving the subsidy program experience for parents and providers alike as we simultaneously increase access.”

The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation will host a webinar for child care providers, advocates, and other frontline workers who are interested in helping families access these resources at 12:00 PM on Wednesday, July 7. Register here to access this virtual event.

For more information about child care assistance in Virginia or to apply for the Child Care Subsidy Program, visit ChildCareVA.com.

Virginia Department of Health Confirms Second Age 0 – 9 Fatality with COVID-19

(RICHMOND, Va.)  — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that a child in the Rappahannock Area Health District died from complications of COVID-19. VDH will disclose no further information about the child to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family. This is the second reported death in a child under 10 years old with COVID-19 in Virginia.

“We extend our condolences to the family of this child in this time of great loss,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “Across the country, COVID-19 continues to cause illness and death. The more contagious Delta variant is now the most predominant strain across the country. We urge everyone age 12 and older who is eligible to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. We have made so much progress in these past months against this virus, but a tragic event like the death of this young child is a stark reminder that our work continues. Even as many of the restrictions of the past year on gathering and mask-wearing are no longer in place, we urge everyone to take precautions to protect themselves and those around them.”

This death is reflected on the VDH COVID-19 data dashboard for Thursday, July 8, 2021.

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, VDH offers the following guidance:

  • Anyone age 12 and older is eligible for free COVID-19 vaccine. To find an appointment, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682).
  • All Virginians aged two years and older who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated should wear masks (cloth face coverings) over their nose and mouth in indoor public settings and outdoor settings.
  • Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • Effective July 1, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors aged 5 years and older (regardless of vaccination status) in public and private K-12 indoor school settings in Virginia, are required to wear masks as per the State Health Commissioner’s Public Health Emergency Order and CDC recommendations. This Order will be effective until July 25, 2021.
  • People who are not fully vaccinated should continue to practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, get tested.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • For more information on COVID-19 in Virginia, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and cdc.gov/coronavirus.
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