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Judge approves Purdue Pharma bankruptcy plan; Sacklers to pay $4.3B

Under the terms of the bankruptcy, the Sackler family would lose control of Purdue and pay $4.3 billion of their personal fortune in installments over the next 10 years, but will be given immunity from any future lawsuits.  File Photo by Justin Lane/EPA-EFE
Under the terms of the bankruptcy, the Sackler family would lose control of Purdue and pay $4.3 billion of their personal fortune in installments over the next 10 years, but will be given immunity from any future lawsuits.  File Photo by Justin Lane/EPA-EFE

Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Federal bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain approved a bankruptcy settlement Wednesday requiring the Sackler family to pay $4.3 billion and forfeiting ownership of Purdue Pharma for their role in the nation's opioid crisis.

The family and pharmaceutical company have been blamed for fanning the flames of the opioid crisis that's led to untold deaths and overdoses in the United States. Some hold the Sackler family personally responsible, saying they got rich while people died.

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Drain said during Wednesday's hearing the plan will lead to the creation of a new company that will make Oxycontin and opioids under much safer governance. He said the oversight and safety systems in place under the new company "should serve as a model to similar companies."

Under the terms of the bankruptcy, the Sackler family would lose control of Purdue and pay $4.3 billion of their personal fortune in installments over the next 10 years, but will be given immunity from any future lawsuits.

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While 15 states signed on to the bankruptcy agreement, other states refused, saying the Sackler family should be held responsible beyond the deal in some shape.

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The plan's supporters say the deal will end lengthy and costly litigation that could continue for years without a guarantee of success. They say the plan would pump billions into drug treatment and healthcare programs that will benefit those with opioid addiction.

House oversight committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to reject the bankruptcy deal. There have been some reports indicating that the Department of Justice may get involved.

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Purdue initially filed for bankruptcy in 2019 in response to thousands of lawsuits that argued the company was responsible for worsening the opioid crisis in the United States through its marketing efforts for OxyContin, which entered the market in 1995.

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