Appeals mount in Purdue Pharma bankruptcy settlement – The Journal
Objections to landmark settlement with Purdue Pharma multiply in the form of appeals
Objections to landmark settlement with Purdue Pharma multiply in the form of appeals, with Rhode Island’s attorney general saying Wednesday the plan does not hold the maker of OxyContin or its owners accountable for its role in triggering the crisis opioids.
Rhode Island appealed to U.S. bankruptcy court in New York on Tuesday. Separate appeals have already been filed by the Bankruptcy Trustee of the United States, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maryland and Washington State, as well as certain Canadian local governments and other Canadian entities.
Any successful appeal could void the deal, not just that state part.
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha, a Democrat, has said he does not accept that the resolution between Purdue Pharma and thousands of state and local governments is sufficient. The Sackler family has not been transparent about their wealth, he said, so it’s hard to calculate how much punishment a resolution will inflict.
Estimates put the collective wealth of family members who own the business at over $ 10 billion.
Neronha also said he didn’t like the regulations protecting the Sacklers from opioid lawsuits.
The state would be entitled to about $ 21.6 million over nine years, or about $ 2.4 million per year, he said.
“It’s just not a lot,” Neronha said. “It might sound like a lot, I guess, but it’s not a lot, given the scale of the problem, both past, present and future.”
A federal bankruptcy judge this month approved a plan to turn Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue into a new company no longer owned by members of the Sackler family, with profits going to fight the opioid epidemic.
The deal resolves some 3,000 lawsuits from state and local governments, Native American tribes, labor unions, hospitals and others who have claimed that the company’s marketing of prescription opioids helped trigger and prosecute an overdose epidemic.
Company profits and $ 4.5 billion in cash and charitable assets from members of the Sackler family will be used to pay some individual victims and help fund opioid treatment and prevention programs.
Members of the Sackler family have said that while disputing allegations made about their family, they “have taken this route to help fight a serious and complex public health crisis.”
Purdue said the settlement avoids “years of value-destroying litigation” and ensures billions of dollars will be used to help people and communities affected by the opioid crisis. Phone messages left with their lawyers on Wednesday were not immediately returned.
Rhode Island’s case against the opioid makers is due in state court in January. But the state’s claim and all others against Purdue were put on hold when the company filed for bankruptcy two years ago. The state’s only hope of being able to move forward with a claim against the company would be to win an appeal.