Purdue Pharma dissolved after lawsuits over opioid crisis

Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin. Photo: George Frey

The pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, which is accused of having played a major role in the opioid crisis in the United States, has been dissolved by a US court.

A judge at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York has approved a settlement regarding a long list of lawsuits against the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma.

According to the New York Times, the pharmaceutical company, and the Sackler family of owners, have received massive criticism for their role in the opioid epidemic that plagues the United States and have been sued for over-prescribing addictive drugs, including the company’s opioid OxyContin.

Judge Robert Drain demanded small adjustments but otherwise approved on Wednesday the settlement, which among other things means that the Sackler family must pay 4.5 billion US dollars.

But the agreement contains a very controversial condition, writes the New York Times. It largely relieves Sacklers of Purdue Pharma’s opioid-related responsibilities and gives them immunity from continuing to mingle over the opioid crisis.

Do not admit mistakes
The family does not admit in the settlement that they did anything wrong. They will also remain among the richest families in the country. They have earned over $ 10 billion from their opioid sales, according to the news site NPR.

The agreement is the result of a long negotiation behind closed doors that has been going on for two years.

”This is a bitter result. I believe that at least some of the Sackler parties are responsible for these events. I had expected a higher amount”, says judge Robert Drain about the deal, which he approved.

”It is clear to me after a long trial that there are now no other reasonably conceivable means to achieve this result.”

Purdue Pharma is declared bankrupt and dissolved by the settlement. The $4.5 billion that the Sackler family has to pay will, among other things, go to care in communities hard hit by the opioid crisis, which led to more than 70,000 deaths in 2019 alone.

Anger among US authorities
Several U.S. states have expressed anger at the decision, including Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who called the plan a ”moral and legal bankruptcy,” according to the New York Times.

”It makes it possible for the Sacklers to walk away from this as billionaires with a legal shield for life,” he said.

Even U.S. The Trustee, a bankruptcy program under the US Department of Justice, wants to stop the deal and has appealed the decision.


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