Federal judge approves bankruptcy settlement for Purdue Pharma

A federal judge on Wednesday approved a controversial bankruptcy settlement for OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma that would shield the members of the Sackler family who own the company from future opioid-related claims.

Judge Robert Drain signed off on the settlement plan during a six-hour bench ruling, setting the stage for the dissolution of the company. Its assets would be transferred to a new firm owned by a trust and run to combat the opioid crisis.

“I wish the plan had provided for more, but I will not jeopardize what the plan does provide,” Drain said.

The settlement money from the deal would go to government entities, which have agreed to use it to address the opioid crisis, along with individual victims and their families.

Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy in 2019 in an attempt to settle about 3,000 lawsuits from states, tribes and other local entities related to the company’s aggressive opioid marketing that they argue contributed to the opioid crisis that has killed nearly 500,000 people over the past 20 years.