Appeals Grow in Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Settlement | Connecticut News


By JENNIFER McDERMOTT and GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press

Objections to a landmark settlement with Purdue Pharma are mounting in the form of appeals, with Rhode Island’s attorney general saying Wednesday that the plan does not hold the maker of OxyContin or its owners accountable for its role in triggering the crisis. opioids.

Rhode Island filed an appeal in US bankruptcy court in New York on Tuesday. Separate appeals have already been filed by the US bankruptcy trustee, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Washington State, as well as some Canadian local governments and other Canadian entities.

Any successful appeal could void the agreement, not just that state’s party.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha, a Democrat, said he does not accept that the resolution between Purdue Pharma and thousands of state and local governments is enough. The Sackler family hasn’t been transparent about their wealth, he said, so it’s hard to calculate how much punishment any resolution will inflict.

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The collective wealth of the family members who own the company is estimated to be over $10 billion.

Neronha also said he didn’t like that the settlement protected the Sacklers from lawsuits over opioids.

The state would be entitled to about $21.6 million over nine years, or about $2.4 million a year, he said.

“It’s just not a lot,” Neronha said. “It may seem like a lot, I suppose, but it’s not a lot, considering the scale of the problem, both past, present and future.”

A federal Missouri bankruptcy judge this month approved a plan to turn Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue into a new company no longer owned by members of the Sackler family, whose profits will be used to fight the outbreak of opioids.

The agreement resolves some 3,000 lawsuits brought by state and local governments, Native American tribes, unions, hospitals and others who have claimed the company’s marketing of prescription opioids helped trigger and continue an epidemic of overdose.

Profits from the company and $4.5 billion in cash and charitable assets from members of the Sackler family will be used to pay certain individual victims and help fund opioid treatment and prevention programs.

Members of the Sackler family said that while they disputed the claims made about their family, they “took this route in order to help address a serious and complex public health crisis.”

Purdue said the settlement avoids “years of value-destroying litigation” and ensures that billions of dollars will be used to help people and communities affected by the opioid crisis. Phone messages left with their lawyers on Wednesday were not immediately returned.

Rhode Island’s case against opioid manufacturers is due in state court in January. But the state’s claim and all others against Purdue were put on hold when the company filed for bankruptcy two years ago. The state’s only hope of moving forward with a claim against the company would be to win an appeal.

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