The Supreme Court is blocking, for now, the OxyContin bankruptcy deal that would have protected the Sucklers
Washington (AP) – supreme court On Thursday temporarily banned National settlement with OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma This would protect the Sackler family members who own the company from civil lawsuits over opioid proceeds.
The justices granted a request by the Biden administration to put an end to an agreement reached last year with state and local governments. In addition, the Supreme Court will hear arguments before the end of the year on whether the settlement can proceed.
The deal would allow the company to emerge from bankruptcy as a different entity, while using its profits to fight back The opioid epidemic. The Sackler family members will contribute up to $6 billion.
But a key component of the agreement would protect family members, who do not seek bankruptcy protection as individuals, from lawsuits.
The US Bankruptcy Trustee, represented by the Department of Justice, opposes absolving the Sackler family from legal liability.
The justices directed the parties to determine whether the bankruptcy code authorizes a comprehensive shield of lawsuits filed by all opioid victims.
The United States 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the reorganization plan to proceed.
Attorneys for Perdue and other parties to the agreement urged the judges to stay out of the case.
“We are confident in the legality of our almost universally supported reorganization plan, and optimistic that the Supreme Court will approve,” the company said in a statement following Thursday’s court action. “However, we are disappointed that the US trustee, despite having no tangible interest in the outcome of this process, has single-handedly been able to delay billions of dollars in value that should be used to compensate victims, alleviate the opioid crisis for communities across the country, and doses An excess of rescue medication.”
Ed Neger, an attorney representing individual victims of the opioid crisis and who will be in line for part of the settlement, said it was disappointing that they had to wait longer for any compensation, but he also praised the court for agreeing to hear the case. very soon. “They clearly see the urgency of the matter,” he said.
Another group of parents of people who died mostly from opioid overdoses called for the settlement not to be accepted.
Opioids have been linked to more than 70,000 fatal overdoses annually in the United States in recent years. Most of these are fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. But the crisis widened in the early 2000s with the proliferation of OxyContin and other powerful prescription pain relievers.
Associated Press writer Jeff Mulvihill contributed to this report from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
This article originally appeared on apnews.com