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OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma’s appeal for approval of its bankruptcy restructuring plan, which would shield the company’s Sackler family owners from future lawsuits related to the opioid crisis, is set to be decided on Wednesday by a federal. By approving this settlement, which Purdue estimates to be worth more than $10 billion, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain would clear the way for the resolution of hundreds of opioid lawsuits.
Instead of the Sackler family owning the new company, it would be held by a trust, which would take over the assets of the drug. To tackle the opioid epidemic in U.S. communities, Purdue and its owners are accused of aggressively marketing the painkiller OxyContin while downplaying the risks of misuse and overdose.
An unpopular element of the proposal, which was challenged by some states, involves legal releases that safeguard the Sackler family from potential opioid. The Sacklers have refuted charges made in litigation and elsewhere that they are to blame for the opioid epidemic in the United States. They claim to have acted ethically and legally during their time on Purdue’s board.
There is a 4.5-billion-dollar donation from Sackler family members included in the Purdue bankruptcy in addition to $175 million in value from abandoning ownership of charity institutions, the contribution is in the form of cash that would be delivered over the course of a decade. “In our view, the Sacklers are responsible for extensive harm in Maryland and nationwide,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh in a statement on Tuesday. “This plan allows the Sacklers to enjoy riches amounting to billions of dollars.”
The legal battle is likely to continue when Wednesday’s judgement is handed down Lawyer William Tong is planning to appeal if necessary after he vehemently opposed the scheme. Pharmaceutical company Stamford, Connecticut pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from its opioid management in November.