States Moving Toward Accepting Purdue Pharma’s Bankruptcy

Purdue Pharma, the largest player in ongoing litigation over opioid manufacturer lawsuits, has proposed a complex bankruptcy – many states (but not yet including Maryland) have withdrawn initial opposition to the plan.

States across the country have sued opioid manufacturers and distributors, seeking offsets for the massive social and fiscal costs from the widespread addiction problems arising from their overuse and misuse. One major element of this still-unfolding story is the planned bankruptcy of Purdue Pharma, arguably the top defendant in the web of state and federal cases.

Purdue’s bankruptcy plan raised controversy, as it proposed to limit the family owners’ personal contribution to eventual remuneration of litigants. However, 15 states have withdrawn their initial opposition to the plan – leaving Maryland on an increasingly smaller roster of states still formally objecting.

From coverage on the National Public Radio website:

“The negotiations were difficult and hard-fought, with the outcome uncertain,” said federal bankruptcy Judge Shelley C. Chapman in the legal filing.

Chapman was appointed in May to try to hash out a modified deal that the so-called “non-consenting states” could accept.

The settlement plan, which is now all but certain to be finalized next month, would shelter members of the Sackler family, who own Purdue Pharma, and many of their associates from future opioid lawsuits.

In return, the Sacklers have agreed to give up ownership of the bankrupt drug company. They will also pay out roughly $4.2 billion from their private fortunes in installments spread over the next decade.

Maryland is one of nine states, plus Washington DC, whose formal objections remain in place.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties