SCOTUS to Hear Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Case

( – A countrywide settlement with Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin, would protect the Sackler family, who control the firm, from civil litigation related to the opioid epidemic. The Supreme Court deliberated over the proposed agreement.

A report shows the judges felt reluctant to tear apart a carefully crafted arrangement but equally wary of rewarding the Sacklers. In response to Biden administration complaints, the high court halted the settlement last summer.

The agreement would offer billions of dollars. The Sacklers would donate $6 billion and relinquish control yet keep billions more. The bankruptcy-reformed corporation would spend its revenues on therapy and prevention.

The judges must decide whether the Sacklers may benefit from bankruptcy. Lower courts have disagreed on that principle, which affects other big product liability claims resolved via bankruptcy. The U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee, a Justice Department branch, claims bankruptcy law does not insulate the Sackler family from lawsuits.

OxyContin was introduced in 1996, and Purdue Pharma’s relentless promotion of it is blamed for starting the opioid crisis by encouraging physicians to prescribe opioids without considering addiction risks.

A report shows that the production of Oxycontin is halted, but other prescription drugs that include oxycodone will still be produced. To help with palliative care or chronic pain, healthcare practitioners will have more flexibility to prescribe and reduce opioids, according to STAT’s 2022 report that the CDC is updating its 2016 policy on opioids.

In recent years, opioid overdose fatalities have risen above 80,000. Most come from synthetics like fentanyl.

Among the biggest settlements ever negotiated is the one involving Purdue Pharma. The sum of the settlements has exceeded $50 billion. However, the Purdue Pharma deal would be the only one of the two settlements that have included direct compensation to victims from a 750 million-dollar pool. It is anticipated that payouts will fall between 3,500 and 48,000 dollars.

The Sackler family has not received payments from the corporation since Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy, and its members are no longer on the board. However, they received more than $10 billion in compensation ten years before, which some family members claimed was used for taxes.

The Harrington v. Purdue Pharma decision is expected before Summer 2024.

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