Bankruptcy judge approves Purdue Pharma’s $ 10 billion settlement plan with immunity for Sackler family
BWhite Plains, New York-based bankruptcy court judge Robert Drain has approved OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s $ 10 billion reorganization plan that will settle thousands of lawsuits against the company for its role in the fueling the opioid epidemic.
The settlement will require members of the Sackler family, who own Purdue Pharma, to pay at least $ 4.5 billion over nine years to the settlement fund in return for immunity in a wide range of civil lawsuits against individual members for Purdue related issues. It was a sticking point for nine state attorneys general who argued the final deal was too easy for the Sacklers, who admitted no wrongdoing.
âIt’s a bitter result,â Drain said, according to NPR. “I think at least some of the Sackler parties are responsible for these [opioid OxyContin] complaints. … I would have expected a higher settlement. “
Washington, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia jointly filed their objection to the plan in July, arguing that the bankruptcy court lacks the power to prevent attorneys general from ” enforce state law, including the decision to prosecute family members who do not seek bankruptcy protection.
“This settlement plan allows the Sacklers to walk away as billionaires with a lifelong legal shield,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. noted last month.
The Sacklers will relinquish control of Purdue Pharma, which will be restructured into a new company overseen by an independent board of directors. Profits from the opiate OxyContin as well as the anti-overdose drug Naloxone will be channeled to trusts through which states, municipalities, tribes and others will have access to funding for prevention and treatment programs. drug addiction.
Even without Purdue Pharma to manage, the Sacklers will still be extremely wealthy. A summary of the family’s wealth was given to members of the House Monitoring and Reform Committee, which revealed in April that the family is worth around $ 11 billion.
“Members of the Sackler family pressured Purdue to use deceptive marketing practices to flood communities with this dangerous pain reliever, and now the Sackler family are trying to use Purdue’s bankruptcy process to escape individual responsibility for their role in feeding the opioid epidemic, âsaid Carolyn, chair of the committee. Maloney, a Democrat from New York, said at the time.
Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin in 1996, and it was aggressively marketed and heavily promoted as a safe, non-addictive pain reliever for moderate to severe pain. Pharmaceutical vendors have successfully flooded rural communities with pills by marketing them directly to doctors who would benefit financially from overprescribing the drug. In 2018, for example, healthcare providers in West Virginia wrote 69 opioid prescriptions per 100 people, compared to the national average rate of about 51 prescriptions. By 2004, OxyContin had become one of the leading drugs of abuse in the United States, in part due to overprescribing
Almost 500,000 people died of opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2019. People who become addicted to prescription opioids, often as a result of a medical procedure, typically switch to heroin or drug abuse. other synthetic opioids after they run out of pills. Synthetic opiates such as fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, have led to a drastic increase in overdoses since 2013, according to federal data. Now, fentanyl is detected in other illicit drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine, which increases the risk of the user dying of an overdose.
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Original author: Cassidy Morrison