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Shameful Sackler Settlement Exploits Bankruptcy Rules to Immunize Purdue Owners, Execs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. judge today approved OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy reorganization plan, which will shield the company’s Sackler family owners from future litigation over the opioid crisis. Valued at more than $10 billion, this plan would immunize the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma from thousands of opioid lawsuits. Rick Claypool, a research director for Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“Allowing the billionaires at the root of the opioid crisis to walk free while thousands of its victims are in prison is a catastrophic injustice.

“Purdue Pharma is the reason the Sackler family are billionaires, and after today’s settlement they will remain billionaires. The greed of some Sacklers fueled an opioid epidemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans, gripped millions in the claws of addiction, devastated communities across the country, and cost over $2.5 trillion.

“Meanwhile, on any given day, 450,000 incarcerated people are serving time for nonviolent drug crimes.

“The Biden administration has the authority to pursue leniency for nonviolent drug offenders, whose unnecessary and cruel incarceration must be replaced with support to help communities heal the raw wounds the opioid epidemic left behind. The administration also has the authority to continue the last administration’s criminal investigation and indict any member of the Sackler family who committed crimes while pursuing opioid profits. On both fronts, the administration should exercise its authority without delay.”