With Half The States In Opioid Case Opposed To Deal, Can Purdue Pharma Really Pull It Off?
And if so, where does that leave the Sackler family when it comes to bankruptcy protections? Many questions remain following news that Purdue Pharma had reached a tentative settlement agreement in the consolidated, nationwide opioid case. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs are fighting opioid companies' efforts to disqualify the judge overseeing the trial.
The Associated Press:
Can Purdue Pharma’s Opioid Settlement Win Judge’s Approval?
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has embarked on a multibillion-dollar plan to settle thousands of lawsuits over the nation’s deadly opioid crisis by transforming itself in bankruptcy court into a sort of hybrid between a business and a charity. Whether the company can pull it off remains to be seen, especially with about half the states opposed to the deal. (Mulvihill and Leblanc, 9/16)
Factbox: What's Next For OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma
Supporters of Purdue's plan to restructure under terms of a settlement the company values at more than $10 billion include 24 states and five U.S. territories, as well as lead lawyers for more than 2,000 cities, counties and other plaintiffs suing the company and, in some cases, its controlling Sackler family. On the other side are two dozen states that remain opposed or uncommitted to the proposed settlement, setting the stage for contentious legal battles over who bears responsibility for a public health crisis that has claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 people between 1999 and 2017, according to the latest U.S. data. (Spector, 9/16)
Purdue Pharma Has Filed For Bankruptcy As Part Of A Plan To Settle Opioid Lawsuits. Here Is What We Know
Attorneys general in Pennsylvania and New York are among those who say they will push forward with their lawsuits. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Monday the filing "is another attempt by the Sacklers to run away from responsibility and avoid paying for the opioid epidemic they engineered." New York Attorney General Letitia James said Monday, "In no uncertain terms, any deal that cheats Americans out of billions of dollars, allows the Sacklers to evade responsibility, and lets this family continue peddling their drugs to the world is a bad one, which is why New York remains opposed to it." (Simon and Schuman, 9/17)
The New York Times:
Would A Purdue Bankruptcy Protect The Sacklers? Good Question.
Will the Purdue bankruptcy also shield the Sacklers from litigation? That’s the mega-billion-dollar question. The answer is not clear. Purdue will ask for a halt to lawsuits against so-called related parties — an obvious reference to individual Sacklers who have been sued in a growing number of cases because of their past roles with Purdue. (Hoffman, 9/16)
The Wall Street Journal:
Purdue Pharma Looks To Extend Bankruptcy Shield To Sacklers
Hours after seeking bankruptcy protection for the company Sunday night, Purdue’s lawyers said they would ask a judge to issue an injunction that would halt legal hostilities from attorneys general who won’t sign on to a settlement the drugmaker has offered. The company’s owners, members of the wealthy Sackler family, are entitled to a shield from litigation, Purdue said it would argue. Government claims against the Sacklers, as well as Purdue’s directors and officers, are “inextricably intertwined” to litigation with the company directly, it said. (Brickley and Randazzo, 9/16)
Factbox: The U.S. Opioid Epidemic In The Courts
As opioid-related deaths have soared, thousands of lawsuits have been filed seeking damages from drugmakers and distributors. The following is a summary of where and how the opioid litigation is playing out across the United States. (Pierson, 9/16)
Opioid Plaintiffs Fight Bid To Disqualify U.S. Judge Before Trial
Lawyers for cities and counties suing drug companies over the opioid epidemic on Monday objected to a bid by pharmaceutical distributors and pharmacies to disqualify the federal judge overseeing the cases, saying it had no basis and came too late. The plaintiffs' lawyers moved swiftly to fight the request companies including AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp had made on Saturday for U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland, Ohio, to step aside from the litigation. (Raymond, 9/16)
And in other news on the crisis —
North Carolina Health News:
NC's First Recovery High School Opens In Charlotte
Under a hot August sun, around 120 supporters, volunteers and well-wishers sweated several Saturdays ago through the ribbon-cutting of a unique North Carolina high school, the Emerald School of Excellence in Charlotte. Housed on the second floor of an auxiliary building of Memorial United Methodist Church, the year-round recovery high school opened its doors to students with substance use disorders on Aug. 26. (Duong, 9/17)
Detroit Free Press:
Opioids: Michigan Doctors Charged With Pain Pill Healthcare Fraud
Michigan locks up more doctors and pharmacists for peddling pain pills than any other state except New York, the Department of Justice says. A Free Press investigation focused on this trend and found that metro Detroit doctors in particular are among the leading culprits fueling the opioid crisis, with more than 100 area physicians facing criminal charges over the last decade for running painkiller schemes. (Baldas, 9/16)
Longtime Crusader Against OxyContin Begins To See The Fruits Of Her Struggle
In the 15 years since she lost her son to a single OxyContin pill, Barbara Van Rooyan has had but one up-close look at the people representing the company that made it.It was in a small courthouse in Abingdon, Va., where Van Rooyan and other relatives of OxyContin victims gathered for a sentencing hearing in 2007. Three executives of Purdue Pharma had pleaded guilty to federal charges related to their misbranding and marketing of the powerful opioid. The company had pleaded guilty as well. (Kreidler, 9/16)
Concord (N.H.) Monitor:
Addiction Treatment Unit Expands To Concord Men’s Prison
An intensive, structured treatment unit for inmates struggling with addiction, as well as concurrent mental health issues, is now open to as many as 80 men at the North State Street prison in Concord. The New Hampshire Department of Corrections announced last week the final phase of the unit’s expansion, which made these therapeutic living communities available in all three of the state’s prison facilities in Concord and Berlin. (Dandrea, 9/16)