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25 Feb 2022

Dietrich Knauth & Tom Hals, Reuters (USA)

USA: Owners of Purdue Pharma propose new $6 billion settlement to resolve claims about company’s alleged responsibility in opioid crisis

“Purdue's Sackler owners propose up to $6 billion opioid settlement”, 18 Feb 2022

The Sackler family owners of Purdue Pharma have proposed a...settlement worth up to $6 billion to resolve allegations that the OxyContin maker and its owners contributed to the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic...

[A] U.S. District Judge...blocked an earlier $4.33 billion proposed settlement that would have legally shielded the family members, a decision that threatened to upend Purdue’s bankruptcy reorganization.

The Sackler family members are trying to win support for a new settlement that could allow...Purdue to emerge from bankruptcy.

The proposed framework would add at least $1.175 billion in cash, plus up to $500 million in proceeds from the sale of other companies owned by the family members...the agreement is not final...

All of the funds would be directed toward abatement of the opioid crisis, including support and services for survivors, victims and their families...

“We remain focused on achieving our goal of providing urgently needed funds to the American people for opioid crisis abatement,” Purdue said... “We believe a global settlement is the swiftest and most cost-effective exit path from Chapter 11 and we will continue working to build consensus.”

Not all of the states have agreed to the deal, and Chapman asked for permission from [the] U.S. Bankruptcy [court]...overseeing the Purdue case, to continue negotiations until Feb 28. That date would fall close to the March 3 expiration of legal protections that prevent the Sacklers from being sued while Purdue remains in bankruptcy.

Purdue, maker of the highly addictive OxyContin opioid pain drug, filed for bankruptcy in 2019 in the face of thousands of lawsuits accusing it and Sackler family members of fueling the opioid epidemic through deceptive marketing.

The company pleaded guilty to misbranding and fraud charges related to its marketing of OxyContin in 2007 and 2020. Sackler family members have denied wrongdoing.

[A U.S. District Judge] ruled in December that the bankruptcy court lacked the authority to approve sweeping legal protections to shield the Sacklers from the opioid lawsuits.

Purdue and Sackler family members have appealed McMahon’s decision to the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to reinstate legal protections for the family members. Oral arguments in that appeal are scheduled for April 25...