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Judge issues $4.5 billion settlement that protects Purdue’s Sackler family from opioid claims

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of OxyContin prescription painkiller made by Purdue Pharma LP lie on shelves at a local pharmacy in Provo
FILE PHOTO: Bottles of the prescription painkiller OxyContin made by Purdue Pharma LP lie on a shelf at a local pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photo

December 17, 2021

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge has put together a $4.5 billion settlement that would have protected the Sackler family, which owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, from future lawsuits on opioids, altering the company’s plans to reorganize in bankruptcy court.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan said in a written ruling Thursday that the bankruptcy court has no legal authority to release the family from liability. She noted that the ruling is likely to be appealed to the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Purdue and the Sacklers’ attorneys could not be immediately reached for comment.

The company has been accused of pushing large amounts of its painkiller OxyContin to patients, while underestimating the potential for addiction and abuse, which it has denied. It filed for bankruptcy in 2019, facing a flurry of legal claims over the drug.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in September approved a reorganization plan, including settlement of lawsuits against the company, in which the Sacklers will pay $4.5 billion and be relieved of liability. Future.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s bankruptcy watchdog and several states have appealed the Drain’s ruling, saying the Sacklers are not entitled to legal protections because they did not file for bankruptcy themselves.

About $10 billion was transferred from Purdue to the Sacklers between 2008 and 2018, about half of which was in taxes or business investments, according to court documents.

An attorney for the Sacklers at a hearing told McMahon there was no evidence the family knowingly moved money ahead of bankruptcy.

More than 500,000 people have died from opioid overdoses since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by Diane Craft and Lincoln Feast.)

https://www.oann.com/judge-tosses-4-5-billion-deal-shielding-purdues-sackler-family-from-opioid-claims/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=judge-tosses-4-5-billion-deal-shielding-purdues-sackler-family-from-opioid-claims Judge issues $4.5 billion settlement that protects Purdue’s Sackler family from opioid claims

Bobby Allyn

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