Neither the company, nor the Sacklers, would admit to wrongdoing in connection with these lawsuits.
Over the past two decades, more than 500,000 people in the United States have died from overdoses of prescription and illegal opioids, including a record annual number in 2020. Purdue, widely believed to have helped ignite the problem by downplaying the addictive potential of OxyContin and aggressively marketing the drug with misleading campaigns, pleaded guilty to two separate investigations by the Justice Department.
For the complex plan to take effect, Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York must sign off, a move long expected and now made even more likely by the full-throated results of the creditor vote. Purdue said it would release final voting tallies on Aug. 2, a week before a court hearing at which final objections will be aired, but the company does not anticipate that these results will change materially. The judge is expected to rule shortly after.
Although a handful of states filed objections to the plan, as did the Department of Justice, those efforts seem unlikely to derail proceedings. Earlier this month, attorneys general for 15 states that had been among the most vociferous objectors, including Massachusetts and New York, said they had negotiated fresh terms that made the plan more palatable and now supported the plan.
Among the new elements the states and Purdue reached during mediation was an agreement by the company to release more than 30 million documents to a public repository, including private communications with lawyers. Those documents are expected to unfurl the full story of the company’s and the Sacklers’ involvement in the selling of OxyContin.
The Sacklers, long known for their philanthropy in the arts, would relinquish future naming rights to any institutions to which they donate until their contributions to the opioids settlement are paid in full.