OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma was dissolved Wednesday as part of a $4.5 billion bankruptcy settlement regarding its involvement in the opioid crisis.
The company’s owners, members of the Sackler family, will be forced to hand over billions of dollars to help address the ongoing battle with opioids in America. However, as part of the bankruptcy agreement that dissolves their company, the Sacklers are absolved of future liability that could stem from Purdue and the opioid epidemic.
BREAKING: A bankruptcy court has given the Sackler family who owns Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, immunity from future opioid lawsuits. https://t.co/y8BnE2gioC
— NPR (@NPR) September 1, 2021
The settlement, provisionally approved by White Plains, New York, Judge Robert Drain, will end thousands of lawsuits against Purdue by state, local and tribal governments, as well as hospitals and individual plaintiffs. The suits were in response to the opioid crisis which has claimed more than 500,000 American lives, according to The New York Times.
Several states were reportedly preparing to file an appeal in response to the settlement. (RELATED: West Virginia Attorney General Sues Biden Administration Over Fentanyl Trafficking At Southern Border)
The Sacklers will pay out $4.5 billion over the course of nine years in the settlement which, along with the profits from a new public benefit drug company forming in Purdue’s place, will primarily go to addiction treatment and prevention initiatives across America. The Sacklers will have no involvement with the new company.
Judge Drain delivered his ruling in a six-hour session, which he called “bitter” and frustrating due to the amount of money being held in offshore accounts by the Sacklers. (RELATED: Drug Exec Who Called Opioid Addicts ‘Pillbillies’ Won’t Be Disciplined, Company Says)
Nobody in the Sackler family has apologized or taken responsibility for their role in the opioid crisis. Last month, former president and co-chairman of the Purdue board Dr. Richard Sackler testified that neither the family, Purdue or their products bore any responsibility for the death and despair unleashed by the opioid crisis.
Purdue Pharma will also pay $500 million as part of the settlement. States will be paid out by a national opioid abatement trust, and Native American tribes will have a separate fund. 130,485 individuals and families will receive payments between $3,500 and $48,000.
Purdue filed for bankruptcy in 2019 in the face of 2,900 lawsuits. 628 of those suits named the Sacklers specifically.