After hundreds of hours of negotiations brokered by Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Shelley Chapman, the Sacklers also agreed to a series of other new terms. In addition to Sackler’s statement, which Mr. Tong called an “apology”, Judge Chapman recommends a hearing that would allow people who suffered from OxyContin addiction to describe what they went through, and that family members from each of the two Sackler branches attend. And another condition as part of the agreement: If medical centers and art or educational institutions bearing Sackler’s name wish to remove it, the family cannot contest the request.
According to the plan, Purdue would be renamed Knoa Pharma and overseen by a public board. The restructured public utility company would be to contribute funds for plaintiffs’ programs, and more as Knoa has become a maker of addiction reversal and treatment drugs, among other drugs, including OxyContin.
The new colony, however, still has one hurdle to overcome before it can move forward. The US Trustee program, which serves as a watchdog over the bankruptcy system within the Justice Department, has long argued vigorously against the proposed immunity shield for the Sacklers. Ahead of Thursday’s tentative agreement, a battle had been building up before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which said it would review the case on an expedited basis.
The Justice Department declined to say whether it would continue to challenge this condition of the tentative settlement.
As marathon negotiation sessions dragged on, the opioid crisis continued to escalate, with overdoses soaring during the pandemic. The dilemma for recalcitrant governments was whether to keep taking the Sacklers to court, a process that could take years with no guarantee of victory, or simply take the money, now that the cash supply had increased. .
While all states and, in turn, their local governments, would receive a larger payout than the initial deal outlined, recalcitrant states would receive even more, as a bonus for their resistance. The $750 million set aside to compensate more than 100,000 individual victims and survivors, whose stories help build government lawsuits, would not increase, but states have pledged to fund an ‘Opioid Survivors Trust’ especially for them.
Ryan Hampton, who has gone through years of litigation on behalf of those affected by the opioid epidemic, said: ‘At least the $750 million is protected, which is better than no money at all. This bankruptcy must end. And the Justice Department needs to flex its muscles and criminally investigate the Sacklers, which the bankruptcy plan allows.