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Courts Approve OxyContin Maker’s Bankruptcy Plan

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OxyContin bottle on counter | Courts Approve OxyContin Maker’s Bankruptcy Plan | featured

Purdue Pharma LP, the makers of controversial opioid OxyContin, won court approval for its $4.5 billion bankruptcy plan. A New York bankruptcy court judge said he will confirm a restructuring plan to dispose of the company’s assets. 

RELATED: DOJ Sues Walmart For Role in Opioid Crisis

OxyContin Owners Get Immunity From Lawsuits

In addition, Purdue Pharma earned its owners, the Sackler family, freedom from additional lawsuits. In exchange, the company will liquidate its assets to pay for funding for opioid awareness programs.  

Last Wednesday, Judge Robert Drain of the US Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, NY confirmed the bankruptcy plan. He said that the plan involves restructuring Purdue Pharma and turning it into a public benefit company. It will also settle civil lawsuits filed by government lawyers and opioid users.  

Open To Appeal

However, federal and state officials can still appeal Judge Drain’s ruling. Government lawyers say that the current bankruptcy plan is disadvantageous. They argued that the proposed settlement structure is unconstitutional.

In addition, the Sackler family isn’t giving up much of the wealth they earned from the opioid. In fact, the Sackler got more than $10 billion in income between 2008 to 2017. Half went to taxes or went back as reinvestments. 

A Washington lawyer representing the state said that Drain is making a “historic” mistake. He also said an appeal will overturn the ruling.

Even worse, Sackler family members will gain immunity from present and future lawsuits. The Sacklers will receive releases that will drop all current civil litigation against them.

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However, the bankruptcy plan will need to undergo some minor changes as issued by Drain. While he wanted the family to pay more, he said he cannot force them to do so. 

Purdue Pharma is the Latest Company Making Drug Settlements

OxyContin maker Purdue is the latest among drug manufacturers seeking to settle lawsuits over the opioids they sold. According to federal records, around half a million people died from an opioid overdose between 1999 to 2019.

Several companies contributed to pay a $26 billion settlement with various US states over opioid use. Meanwhile, consulting firm McKinsey & Co forked out $573 million due to its role in heavily advertising opioids such as OxyContin and fentanyl. 

During the pandemic, Americans who died from drug-related overdoses rose by more than 30%. At this point, the widespread availability of fentanyl was the main culprit.

When making his decision, Judge Drain did not consider Purdue or the Sackler family’s culpability in the opioid crisis. Instead, he only looks at the family’s $4.5 billion contributions to Purdue’s creditors.

He said the amount is a fair resolution to its bankruptcy suit. In addition, Drain noted that even if four Sackler family members testified during the trial, none would issue an apology. However, they did express regret for what the company did. 

Forced Apology Not Really An Apology

“A forced apology is not really an apology, so we will have to live without one,” Drain said. He added that he understands the bitterness over the bankruptcy case.

Purdue pled guilty last year to three federal felonies over its marketing and sale of OxyContin. The Sacklers denied wrongdoing. Last year, the family settled civil allegations with the Justice Department for $225 million separately. They did so without admitting any liability.

Watch the CBS Evening News video reporting that Purdue Pharma’s opioid settlement sparks backlash:

Do you agree with the Purdue and Sackler family bankruptcy plan, including their immunity from lawsuits?

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Do you agree with the way Purdue and the Sackler family settled lawsuits against their role in the opioid crisis? Also, do you think the company and the family could do more to help? Finally, do you agree that the Sackler family deserves immunity from current and future lawsuits?

Let us know what you think. Share your comments below.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  • Paul says:

    OxyContin ruined my wife’s and my life for several years my wife never recovered from this and passed away using a equivalent drug several years later. It was legally immoral to push doctors to over prescribe this drug as a pain killer when it is a heroin equivalent in every way . It’s taken all of ten years to evolve out all of the problems associated with it in a family structure and in society.

  • Elaine says:

    I lost my husband to oxy mismanagement in 1999, And the ultimate over marketing of this drug to doctors. It was meant for terminal patients only initially and should have stayed that way. I am a nurse so it’s especially hard to see the way pharma pushes the docs and hospitals. Wish we could take a way the greed involved.
    There should not be immunity for any pharma company, not even fir vaccines. But pharma are huge lobbyists so us commoner will have to suffer.

  • Billy Howie says:

    There are those of us who take these opioids and keep them controlled where we don’t have an addiction problem, and life is functional again because of them. For us, rulings like these make it harder for us to fill our prescriptions. Our use is measured and documented, we see the doctors to try and alleviate pain by healing, but that’s not always possible. My experience in the waiting rooms is nothing short of eye-opening, there are so many people in real pain, that cannot be relieved with OTC medications.
    As far as fentanyl and the overdoses, these articles fail to mention the illegal importing of the super doses coming from our NOT friends in China, who repeatedly demonstrate their willingness to harm this country (who else puts lead paint on toys???), and it’s these imports that killed a family member of mine.
    But it’s the choice to ingest something that’s not legal that falls on the individual! The problem is that the prescribing doctor and the patient are both being hindered in trying to use the medications, and some patients are obviously attempting to alleviate pain, and go looking to outside sources. This is a bad choice obviously, but those who do not use opioids do not realize how much relief these medications can give. Myself, they enable me to get up and go out into the world. No, I’m not “stoned”, nor are my motor functions, such as those needed for driving, impaired by their use. I know this is not the same for everyone, once again this is something up to the individual, to determine if they can safely perform these types of actions, but I would not be able to leave the house, being in great pain from my injuries.

  • Connie says:

    I’ve hear far more cases of people getting addicted to the opioids than it actually helping. I personally refuse to take them but don’t condemn anyone that has to in a very controlled setting nutlets be honest, those that do not get addicted is by far a very, very small percentage. I think companies should be held accountable! It just goes to prove that when you follow the money trail of who’s getting rich, you always find the trash!

  • Mamasaun6583 says:

    Are you kidding??! As much harm as oxytocin had brought to others, the makers of it should be in jail or prison, JUST LIKE MANY of the addicts the made of oxycotin!!!
    Geesh…….

  • Joe Budd says:

    As a retired home infusion RN, I remember when oxy first came out.
    It was pushed as the safest, NON-ADDICTIVE, pain medication ever. It was pushed on doctors heavily; pain management physicians especially.
    It didn’t take long before those of us in the front lines of patient care saw real problems with oxy….. but big pharma continued to push it, like ANY OTHER DRUG DEALER/PUSHER.
    Our concerns were muted; we even were “instructed” by our superiors to “stop making waves”….. sound familiar to the COVID-19 vaccine debates today??? Yep, things are STILL controlled by big pharma and their lobbyist….. and it looks like you can add the COURTS to that list!!
    I feel for the victims of this poison; MOST began using oxy under the care of a physician. Many were eventually discharged from care by the very doctors who started them on this “medication”. Numerous reasons were given but the bottom line was that the physician had maxed out the insurance benefits and/or decided that the patients were abusing the medications. NOTE: The first sign/indication of addiction; a lot of “addicts” started out using oxy, and other opioids, under the care of a physician!!! NOT as a “stoner”.
    In short, from my perspective, the judge messed up; the family &big pharma put their own greed and profits ahead of PATIENT SAFETY.
    BOTH should be responsible for any current & future lawsuits…. civil and criminal.
    They knew oxy was extremely addictive but continued to push it as non-addictive and safe. A WONDER DRUG!!!
    Responsibility and ACCOUNTABILITY should be demanded…. it hasn’t been!!
    Too many lives were lost, damaged and impacted by this drug; I hope the bankruptcy plan will be overturned.

  • Jim Vargas says:

    For those of us who use the drug responsibly and are not addicts, I mourn the loss of a legitimate pain killer. I have used Oxycontin for over 6 years because of a back injury that would otherwise make me an invalid. I am not an addict.

  • OverYourBs says:

    Let’s blame the drug makers and doctors instead of ourselves for our failures. It’s their fault, not yours for becoming an addict after all! Much like addiction to cigarettes and alcohol, you shouldn’t have any culpability or consequences for your ignorance.

  • Ray Bergeron says:

    Murder/manslaughter or whatever for profit … WHY the exception for these people 👎🤯🥶☠️🥵

    🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 For VICTIMS

  • Steven says:

    And the people who lost loved ones will get nothing for compensation. This drug never should have been on the market, every one at Perdue pharma are criminals.

  • Derek Jones says:

    The people who lost loved ones did it to themselves. Don’t we all have free will? And education to boot? Yes, we do. However, anyone as stupid as to claim “the devil made me do it”, SUFFER!

  • Derek Jones says:

    also fine the pharmaceutical company for manufacturing this habit forming oxycontin. People are generally stupid. Manufacturers feast on people’s stupidity.

  • Erin Green says:

    I too have a back injury that caused by a car accident when another driver ran a stop sign. First, it was 1 1/2 years before I finally had surgery for 2 broken vertebrae. I waited over a year for the pain to go away but it never did. I couldn’t take it any more and took another medical leave from work to get the pain under control. I was prescribed morphine, which sent me to the ER, fentanyl patches, which never styed on more then a day, and several other medications which either didn’t work or I was allergic to. I was finally put on methadone, which was a Godsend! I was able to walk my dogs 2 miles a day and do other things I hadn’t been able to do in over 2 years! I was on it for 14 years then was taken off in 2017 and was told they could no longer prescribe methadone. I had not one problem being taken off of it other then the severe pain returning. Now I can’t walk my dogs anymore, let alone walk to the mailbox. I was put on oxycontin and took it for over a year but was given the lowest dose possible which did nothing for me. When I asked my doctor if I could get an increase in dosage, she refused to even renew my present prescription! The point is, there will always be a percentage of people who will become addicts no matter what medications you give them! Why should those of us who are responsible have to suffer because of these ignorant people who are addicts? I was never totally pain free but at least I could function! Don’t I deserve at least that?

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