The billionaire Sackler family that owns Purdue Pharma will receive blanket immunity from every current and future civil claim over the company’s role in the opioid crisis, according to a ruling by a federal appeals court on Tuesday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit approved the settlement that would result in the Sackler family paying $5.5-$6 billion as part of the deal to receive this broad protection, potentially ending a bankruptcy proceeding that began in 2019, according to the court filing. The settlement money will go toward addressing the worsening opioid crisis, which Purdue Pharma has been accused of helping to cause.
Approximately $750 million from the Tuesday settlement deal will be distributed to families and individuals impacted by the opioid epidemic, according to the court filing.
The company advertised OxyContin aggressively, which “exacerbated the abuse,” according to a Drug Enforcement Administration Government Accountability Office report in 2003. Purdue deceived the public about how addictive their pills were, according to the filing.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reviewed grants the Sacklers’ numerous charities awarded and was unable to find a single donation to organizations combatting the opioid crisis as of 2017. The DCNF also reviewed dozens of opioid addiction treatment centers and did not find any mention of the name “Sackler,” except in blog posts or information pages when citing the family’s association with Purdue, OxyContin and the epidemic.
“The Sackler families believe the long-awaited implementation of this resolution is critical to providing substantial resources for people and communities in need,” a statement by the families of the two brothers who founded Purdue Pharma said on Tuesday. “We are pleased with the Court’s decision to allow the agreement to move forward and look forward to it taking effect as soon as possible.”
“The Second Circuit’s ruling is a victory for Purdue’s creditors, including the states, local governments, and victims who overwhelmingly support the Plan of Reorganization,” Purdue Pharma told the DCNF. “Our focus going forward is to deliver billions of dollars of value for victim compensation, opioid crisis abatement, and overdose rescue medicines. Our creditors understand the Plan is the best option to help those who need it most, the most fair and expeditious way to resolve the litigation, and the only way to deliver billions of dollars in value specifically to fund opioid crisis abatement efforts.”
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