"The billionaire Sacklers who own Purdue Pharma, maker of the OxyContin painkiller that helped fuel America’s opioid epidemic, are among America’s richest families. And if they have their way, the federal court handling Purdue’s bankruptcy case will help them hold on to their wealth by releasing them from liability for the ravages caused by OxyContin.
"The July 30 deadline for filing claims in Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings potentially implicates not just claims against Purdue, but also claims against the Sacklers. The Sacklers may yet again benefit from expansive powers that bankruptcy courts exercise in complex cases.
"So far, the bankruptcy court has granted injunctions stopping proceedings in several hundred lawsuits charging that Sackler family members directed the aggressive marketing campaign for OxyContin; it and other opioids have been implicated in the addictions of millions of patients and the deaths of several hundred thousand.
"The Sacklers have offered $3 billion in the hope that the bankruptcy court will impose a global settlement of OxyContin litigation. Under this settlement, all claims against the Sacklers, even by families who lost loved ones to opioids, would be forever extinguished."
Read the full op-ed, authored by Professor Ralph Brubaker and author Gerald Posner, at nytimes.com.
Note: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Illinois College of Law.