David Sackler, a member of the Sackler family which until recently owned Purdue Pharma, appeared in court on Tuesday and threatened that the family would drop out of its settlement deal related to the opioid epidemic. The company produced the painkiller OxyContin which was attributed with a rise in addictions in America.
Last November Purdue Pharma pled guilty for its part in America’s opioid crisis. The company was branded as a “pusher” for its OxyContin pain killer. Purdue Pharma had been charged with paying doctors kickbacks to get them to prescribe more of its pain killers. This was done in spite of knowledge about how addictive they were. Purdue’s chairman Steve Miller admitted that the company knowingly supplied OxyContin to doctors who were suspected of illegally prescribing the drug while telling the DEA that it was working to do just the opposite.
In June it was reported that the Sackler Family may get a bankruptcy deal approved by the courts which would leave it immune from civil suits related to its confessed pushing of opioid pain killers. At the time. A federal judge in White Plains, N.Y, moved the bankruptcy deal ahead, over strenuous objections.
The immunity part of the deal would apply to dozens of Sackler family members, more than 160 financial trusts, and at least 170 companies, consultants and other entities associated with the Sackler family.
So what happened now?
David Sackler, 41, is the grandson of one of Purdue Pharma’s founders and he previously served on the company’s board. He said in court that the family would not move forward with it’s out of court settlement of civil suits related to OxyContin without greater assurances that it would come with the previously promised immunities.
“We need a release that is sufficient to get our goals accomplished, and if the release fails to do that, then we will not support it,” said David Sackler.
The Sackler Family could delay the start of the payouts from the agreed upon $4.5 billion settlement if it refuses to sign the final deal. The money is to be paid out over 10 years.