New York. Purdue Pharma, the maker of the pain reliever OxyContin, considered the generator of the opioid crisis in the United States, will be dissolved through a plan approved by a federal judge yesterday. However, the Sackler family, which owns the company, has been exempted from further penalties, although they will have to pay $4.5 billion to settle multiple lawsuits.
“Purdue will cease to exist and all operating assets will be transferred to a new, newly formed company tasked with addressing the opioid crisis,” the company said in a statement.
Facing a series of lawsuits, Purdue pleaded guilty to three criminal charges in October for aggressive promotion of the addictive pain reliever that sparked a national crisis that has caused more than 500,000 overdose deaths in the United States in the past 20 years.
The company will be sold in 2024 to be replaced by a new fund-managed entity that should “restrict the promotion of opioids and (…) ensure that all of its products, including opioids, are delivered safely to minimize diversion risks.” .
Purdue will also need to build a repository of tens of millions of documents detailing sales and marketing practices.
Purdue CEO Steve Miller lauded the deal, which ended the saga and will save billions of dollars for various organizations to deal with the fallout from the addiction crisis.
In a statement, Miller said that rather than years of devastating litigation, the settlement “claims to allocate billions of dollars to help individuals and communities affected by the opioid crisis.”
The company said in a statement that the plan has already received support from 95 percent of the company’s creditors as well as 43 US states.
But the court’s decision states that Sacklers “will not be liable” for costs or fines except in cases of “fraud or willful misconduct”.
New York Attorney General Letitia James praised the agreement, noting that the documents would reveal the company’s role “in unleashing the opioid epidemic.”
“There is no perfect deal, and no amount of money will compensate for the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives, the millions who became addicts or the countless families torn apart by this crisis, but this money will be used to prevent future deaths,” he said.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced that he will appeal the bankruptcy court’s decision.
“This frees up Sackler by giving them permanent immunity for a fraction of the profits they’ve made from the opioid epidemic, and sends the message that billionaires operate by different rules than everyone else,” he said.
Sacklers, like many millionaires, made donations to such prestigious institutions as the Met Museum in New York, for example. Many organizations now block your donations.
The family’s fortune has been dented by the crisis, but it was still at $10.8 billion at the end of last year, according to Forbes.
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