Judge conditionally approves plan to dissolve OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma

Judge Robert Drain called this a "bitter" end and said he wished claimants were getting more money in the settlement deal.


A federal bankruptcy judge ruled that Purdue Pharma, the maker of the addictive painkiller OxyContin, will be dissolved under a settlement deal and that its owners, members of the Sackler family, will pay out more than $4 billion to address the opioid epidemic that's killed more than 500,000 Americans.

Judge Robert Drain called this a "bitter" end and said he wished claimants were getting more money.

The settlement resolves all civil litigation against the Sackler family members, Purdue Pharma and other related parties and entities, and awards them broad legal protection against future civil litigation.

It also requires the Sacklers to relinquish control of family foundations with over $175 million in assets to the trustees of a National Opioid Abatement Trust.

Under the settlement, Purdue Pharma's operating assets will be transferred to a newly formed public benefit company that will not include any stakeholders from the Sackler family.

The settlement does not protect the Sackler family members and other named parties against potential criminal actions. States attorneys general and the Justice Department could still prosecute.

A representative for the Raymond Sackler family said in a statement, "This resolution is an important step toward providing substantial resources for people and communities in need, and it is our hope these funds will help achieve that goal."

Family members of the late Dr. Mortimer Sackler maintained their denials of allegations against the family in a statement to CNN Wednesday.

"While we dispute the allegations that have been made about our family, we have embraced this path in order to help combat a serious and complex public health crisis. We hope that the resolution will signal the beginning of a far-reaching effort to deliver assistance where it is most needed," the family said in a statement

They also expressed some remorse for OxyContin's role in the opioid epidemic.

"It distresses us greatly that it also became involved in suffering from addiction or abuse. We are truly sorry for the suffering and loss people have experienced and recognize the anger or hurt that many people have felt alongside their grief," the statement said.

Several states are expected to appeal the ruling.

Purdue Pharma declared bankruptcy in 2019, putting on hold thousands of lawsuits filed against it.