Purdue Pharmaceuticals, a U.S. manufacturer of the opioid painkiller, OxyContin, received bankruptcy protection from the court on the 1st (local time).
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Judge Robert Drain of the federal bankruptcy court in White Plains, New York, approved Purdue Pharmaceuticals’ restructuring plan. That would also end lawsuits filed by states and addiction victims against Purdue and its owners.
According to the WSJ, the federal and state governments are expected to appeal Purdue’s bankruptcy plan. The bankruptcy court was reported “unconstitutional in its decision”, “which left the Sackler family with insufficient compensation relative to their assets.”
Between 2008 and 2017, the Sacklers received more than $10 billion in profit from Purdue Pharmaceuticals, almost half of which was used for taxes or reinvestment. About 4.5 billion dollars will be paid to the victims’ families by the Sacklers.
Having the bankruptcy plan approved allows the Sackler family members to keep their heads down and avoid many lawsuits and investigations by the states and individuals.
Judge Drain said he wanted the Sacklers to contribute more to the damages, but added that the court could not demand a specific outcome.
Purdue is one of the pharmaceutical companies and distributors involved in the opioid (opioid) scandal that resulted in nearly 500,000 drug-related deaths between 1999 and 2019.
In July, other pharmaceutical companies agreed to pay $26 billion in damages resulting from thousands of opioid-related lawsuits.
The consulting firm McKinsey admitted that it offered aggressive marketing on opioids to pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue, earlier this year and agreed to pay $573 million in restitution.
Opioids have caused serious addiction in America, which is already suffering from drug addiction.
Overdose deaths increased by nearly 30 percent in the U.S. during the Covid-19 pandemic last year. This is due to the rapid spread of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.
Opioid painkillers prescribed by a doctor are known to cause addiction among patients due to their strong dependence.
They overextend themselves and when they can no longer obtain opioids through a doctor’s prescription, they turn to the black market or switch to drugs with the same ingredient, such as heroin. It also affects fentanyl, which is more effective but comes with a very high death rate.
Purdue, meanwhile, pleaded guilty last year, but the Sacklers declined to plead guilty and agreed to a $225 million payment to the Justice Department.