Sacklers Secure Immunity in Opioid Settlement

Protesters stage a 'die-in' outside of the United States Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York. August 9, 2021. Image: Erik McGregor/LightRocket/Getty
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Protesters stage a 'die-in' outside of the United States Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York. August 9, 2021. Image: Erik McGregor/LightRocket/Getty

A federal bankruptcy judge has conditionally greenlit a $10 billion settlement that dissolves Purdue Pharma and shield the disgraced Sackler family from further lawsuits related to the opioid crisis, PBS NewsHour reports.
 
Thousands of jurisdictions and individual victims have sued the drug maker, claiming it aggressively and deceptively marketed the addictive painkiller OxyContin–-driving an addiction epidemic that has killed over 500,000 people in the US.
 
Under the settlement, the Sackler family will:

  • Contribute $4.3 billion to compensate individuals, local government, and tribal communities impacted by OxyContin

  • Relinquish control of several charitable institutions and Purdue Pharma


Purdue Pharma will be replaced by a new public benefit company, with profits used to prevent and treat opioid addiction.
 
In a ruling lasting 6+ hours, Judge Robert Drain said “it’s clear that marketing contributed to a massive public health crisis.”
 
“I wish the plan had provided more. I will not jeopardize what the plan does provide,” he added, according to STAT.
 
The Sacklers had promised to drag out costly litigation if a settlement did not give them immunity, PBS noted.
 
The family was not given immunity to criminal charges.

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