WASHINGTON – The Justice Department on Thursday took steps to block a bankruptcy plan that grants broad immunity to drug company Purdue Pharma, whose drug OxyContin is at the heart of the country’s opiate epidemic.
US Attorney General William K. Harrington filed a motion in federal court to block ratification of the treaty, while the department appealed the judge’s decision to approve the treaty.
Mr Harrington said the court had to suspend his motion because the federal government “has a significant chance of succeeding on the appeal and because the harm caused by refusing to remain outweighs the potential harm caused by leaving someone”. ”
The controversial deal was approved this month by Judge Robert Drane, a federal judge in White Plains, New York, in exchange for, among other things, a future financial contribution of $4.3 billion to the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma. freed from legal responsibility for the fate of the family.
Mr Harrington argued in his file that the appeals court ruled that the transaction deprived those who had valid lawsuits against the morons “without their knowledge and consent, adequate notice or opportunity to be heard”. “Yes, Sir.
He also said the federal government’s case was supported by previous Supreme Court rulings.
The Justice Department lawsuit is the latest in a long-running battle to catch the Sackler family for manufacturing, marketing, and selling the highly addictive pain reliever OxyContin.
Some experts say OxyContin helped fuel the opioid epidemic that killed more than 500,000 people across the country and is still in the United States 15 years after the drug was launched. stuck.
But OxyContin made the Sacklers very rich. From 2008 to 2017, the family withdrew $10.4 billion from Purdue Pharma.
As more and more people died from opiate use, the plaintiffs sued Purdue. When the company filed for bankruptcy in September 2019, it faced 2,900 lawsuits, more than 600 of which were Sacklers. The bankruptcy proceedings have extinguished these lawsuits.
Judge Drane approved the settlement plan after careful negotiations between the family, local authorities, the hospital system and other parties suing the company, and costly litigation is likely to launch in the years to come.
Those who back the agreement, including most states and some plaintiffs, say it will provide much-needed funding for drug treatment programs.
Purdue chairman Steve Miller said the agreement “ensures billions of dollars will be available to help people and communities affected by the opioid crisis”. Several members of the Sackler family said the resolution was an important step in addressing the public health crisis.
However, critics say the term unfairly protects fools. It usually offers family protection for insolvent companies, but not for company owners who have not declared themselves bankrupt.
The Justice Department and several states have appealed Judge Drane’s decision.