Purdue Pharma bankruptcy mediator says Sacklers and US states are moving closer to settlement over opioid claims

Feb 8 (Reuters) – A mediator reported on Tuesday that members of the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma and U.S. states opposed to the OxyContin maker’s bankruptcy exit plan are “even closer” to a settlement over allegations that the company fed an American opioid. epidemic.

The mediator asked a bankruptcy judge to extend the deadline for talks from Feb. 16 to Feb. 7, saying the two sides needed more time to finalize a deal that would involve ‘substantial’ additional funds from the Sacklers , according to court documents filed. Tuesday. The new settlement would also include non-monetary concessions.

The Sacklers previously agreed to pay $4.3 billion in Purdue’s bankruptcy filing in exchange for sweeping legal protections that would have shielded the family from future opioid lawsuits. States that had opposed the deal argued that the Sacklers were not paying enough to address their role in the damage caused by the opioid crisis.

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Purdue, the maker of the highly addictive opioid painkiller OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy in 2019 amid thousands of lawsuits accusing it and the wealthy Sackler family members who owned the company of helping cause the outbreak. of opioids in the United States through deceptive marketing that minimized addiction and the risk of overdose.

The company pleaded guilty to misbranding and fraud charges related to its marketing of OxyContin in 2007 and 2020. The Sacklers have denied wrongdoing.

Any additional contributions from the Sacklers would be used exclusively for alleviating the opioid crisis, including support and services for survivors, victims and their families, according to the mediator’s report.

Over the next week, the mediator, US Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman, intends to invite other stakeholders to the negotiations, according to her interim report.

The mediator has already sought input from some junior Purdue creditors and representatives of opioid victims who filed claims in the case, according to the report filed Tuesday.

The current mediation round includes representatives from the Raymond Sackler and Mortimer Sackler branches of the Sackler family, as well as from eight states, including California, Connecticut and Washington. Purdue is based in Stamford, Connecticut.

Purdue said Tuesday that a settlement that would help ease the opioid crisis is “more needed than ever.”

A representative for the Mortimer Sackler family declined to comment on Tuesday. A representative for the Raymond Sackler family did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In December, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon struck down the $4.3 billion settlement, finding the bankruptcy court had no legal authority to approve the Sacklers’ protections because they had no filed for bankruptcy for themselves.

Several members of the Sackler family testified in Purdue’s bankruptcy trial that their contribution to the settlement was conditional on achieving “world peace” over an opioid litigation.

Purdue and the Sacklers appealed McMahon’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. The 2nd Circuit is expected to hear the appeal on April 25.

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Reporting by Tom Hals and Dietrich Knauth; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Berkrot

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