Supreme Court Pauses Purdue Pharma’s Settlement Protecting Sacklers – Rolling Stone

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A bankruptcy agreement that would have shielded the former owners of Purdue Pharma from civil lawsuits and liability related to their marketing of the opioid OxyContin was temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court on Thursday. 

The agreement would have granted the Sackler family, the former owners of Purdue Pharma, what solicitor general, Elizabeth B. Prelogar called an “exceptional and unprecedented” immunity from liability that would “leave in place a road map for wealthy corporations and individuals to misuse the bankruptcy system to avoid mass tort liability.”

The deal would have required the Sacklers to pay $6 billion in settlement funds, a fraction of the nearly $10 billion in profits the family made off OxyContin alone. 

“We are disappointed that the US Trustee, despite having no concrete interest in the outcome of this process, has been able to single-handedly delay billions of dollars in value that should be put to use for victim compensation, opioid crisis abatement for communities across the country, and overdose rescue medicines,” the company said in response to the ruling on Thursday. 

Purdue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019 after a multibillion-dollar lawsuit brought by a coalition of more than 2,000 states, cities, counties, and Native American tribes sought restitution for the company’s role in the opioid crisis. 


In 2020, the company pleaded guilty to three federal criminal felony charges — including conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act — and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

While the settlement agreement remains stalled in court, the company announced in 2021 that it intends to rebrand as “Knoa Pharma,” — without the involvement of the Sacklers. According to a statement released by Knoa, the new company “will develop and distribute millions of doses of opioid addiction treatment and overdose reversal medicines.” 

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