Bankruptcy settlement would give Purdue Pharma a free pass
Those responsible for the scourge of opioid addiction that has ravaged communities in Washington and across the country must be held accountable.
Anyone who knowingly contributed to this irresponsible distribution should suffer the consequences, not get a free pass.
But that’s exactly what a proposed bankruptcy settlement would offer OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, its wealthy owners and associates. Those seeking compensation and remedies for death and injury have until July 14 to decide whether to vote for the plan, approved by a federal bankruptcy judge last week. They should decline.
Under the 499-page proposal, the Sackler family would relinquish control of the business and pay $ 4.5 billion to fund opioid treatment and mitigation over nearly a decade. But money comes at too high a price: blanket immunity for dozens of the Sackler family, including business owners and directors, and hundreds of businesses, trusts, consultants and others. associates, for the damage caused when communities were inundated with their addictive drugs. .
Last fall, the company pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for facilitating the prescribing of Purdue’s extended-release opioid products – OxyContin, Butrans and Hysingla – without a legitimate medical purpose and in violation of federal pot law. of-wine. Members of the Sackler family maintain that they have personally done nothing wrong. If so, they should rejoice in the opportunity to prove their innocence, not looking for a way out essentially of trouble – not least in a specialized court that usually doesn’t focus on injury and damage. , but on the negotiation of agreements between creditors and debtors. who cannot pay their bills.
This exceptionally complicated bankruptcy has always been about more than money. Purdue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2019, in part, to avoid thousands of civil suits and cases filed by two dozen state attorneys general.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is disappointed. “I have filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma to hold the company accountable for its role in fueling the opioid epidemic,” he said via email after the judge’s approval. “This responsibility must include the Sackler family, who made billions of dollars as Washington families suffered.
“A legal shield denies Washingtonians the responsibility that survivors and families deserve.”
No legal process can erase the heartbreak over the country’s prescription opioid epidemic or bring back lost parents, children, neighbors and other loved ones. But preventing civil lawsuits that seek the truth about who is responsible for this death and destruction only compounds the pain.