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US Federal Judge Rejects Purdue Pharma’s Opioid Bankruptcy Settlement

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“A US federal judge has rejected OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy settlement of thousands of lawsuits over the opioid epidemic because of a provision that would protect members of the Sackler family from facing litigation of their own.” [Source: apnews.com]


Purdue Pharma, an American drug company, is seen by many observers as having been largely responsible for the rise of the devastating opioid drug crisis in the United States. After introducing OxyContin, a powerful opioid painkiller, in 1996, the company proceeded to market it aggressively as a drug that was supposedly less addictive, less subject to abuse, and less likely to cause narcotic side effects. Seduced by Purdue’s deceptive marketing, American doctors subsequently wrote huge numbers of prescriptions for the drug.

Court filings suggest members of the notorious Sackler family, who own Purdue, directed efforts to mislead doctors and patients about OxyContin’s dangers. Tragically, between 1999 and 2019, around 247,000 Americans are believed to have lost their lives as a result of overdoses related to prescription opioid drugs.

With a New York bankruptcy court having recently approved a deal for the dissolution of Purdue, the Sacklers initially appeared to have bought themselves immunity from accountability. But with a US federal judge now rejecting that settlement, hopes are raised among campaigners that justice might finally be seen to be done. Given however that Purdue and the Sacklers have been authorized to appeal the federal ruling, it remains possible they could still escape full accountability.

To read how a recent Gallop poll found the pharma industry was seen as the worst industry in the United States, see this article on our website.

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