Appeals multiply in Purdue Pharma bankruptcy settlement

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Objections to a landmark settlement with Purdue Pharma are mounting in the form of appeals, with the Rhode Island attorney general saying on 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.

AGREEMENT WITH OXYCONTIN MANUFACTURER PURDUE PHARMA LEAVES FAMILIES ANGRY AND CONFLICT

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.

The judge overseeing the bankruptcy of Purdue Pharma said Monday that some members of the Sackler family who own the maker of OxyContin face a “substantial risk” of liability and could be forced to pay “huge sums of money” for company complaints. (AP Photo / Seth Wenig / AP Newsroom)

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.”

SETTLEMENT OF OPIOIDDES OXYCONTIN MAKER PURDUE PHARMA OK BY THE JUDGE

A federal bankruptcy judge this month approved a plan to turn Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue into a new business no longer owned by members of the Sackler family, with profits going to help 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 continue 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 the allegations made about their family, they “have set out on this path 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.

Purdue said in an email Wednesday that the bankruptcy court and the vast majority of its creditors believe the settlement is the only way to fund programs to end the opioid crisis.

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“The appeals will only further harm states, victims and creditors by delaying and eroding their collections,” the email read. “The time has come for the remaining opponents to join the overwhelming majority of creditors so that billions of dollars can start pouring in as quickly as possible.”

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.


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