At the beginning of August, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a nationwide settlement, which would have protected the family behind OxyContin from civil lawsuits. The Biden administration requested that this agreement, which was reached last year with state and local government, be delayed. The high courts will now hear arguments before the end of this year whether this settlement will proceed.
The settlement with Purdue Pharma allows for the company to become a different entity after bankruptcy. The Associated Press reports that members of the Sackler family would contribute $6 billion, and members would be shielded from lawsuits in the future. Both parties are asked by the court to show whether the bankruptcy law allows for a blanket shield from opioid victims seeking litigation.
Although the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed for the plan, the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee, being represented by the Justice Department, disagrees with the shield on civil lawsuits. However, AP reports that Purdue insists they are “confident” in the legality of the supported Plan of Reorganization and are “optimistic” that the Supreme Court will agree.
The company also claims that they are disappointed and that this decision will “single-handedly delay billions of dollars in value that should be put to use for victim compensation, opioid crisis abatement for communities across the country, and overdose rescue medicines.”
Opioids have taken the lives of more than 70,000 Americans in recent years. While many of these deaths are linked to fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, the widespread presence of OxyContin and other prescription painkillers has played a role, AP reports.