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Family reacts to high court ruling rejecting multibillion-dollar opioid settlement

A U.S. Supreme Court decision rejected a controversial agreement for a settlement in litigation that would have shielded Purdue Pharma's Sackler family.
Demonstrators at the U.S. Supreme Court reacting to the opioid crisis and a decision regarding Purdue Pharma
Posted at 2:39 PM, Jun 28, 2024

The Supreme Court on Thursday decided that a settlement and bankruptcy reorganization of opioid maker Purdue Pharma was inappropriate because it included legal protections for the Sackler family, which owns the company.

The court ultimately held that the legal shield that bankruptcy can allow should not extend past Purdue Pharma and to the Sackler family. The family had not yet declared bankruptcy for themselves, the AP reported.

One family of victims applauded the decision.

"This decision is so much bigger, because if it would have went the other way ... the DOJ does not put white collar criminals in jail, they just fine them. Any criminal company could hide behind bankruptcy. And demand, like the Sacklers were trying to do, third-party releases," Ed Bisch, the father of a victim who succumbed to an opioid overdose, told Scripps News.


Supreme Court

Supreme Court rejects a nationwide opioid settlement with OxyContin maker

The Associated Press
8:23 AM, Jun 27, 2024

Justices deliberated for six months and in a 5-4 vote blocked an agreement that had been arranged by state and local government along with victims, the Associated Press reported.

"The very first time I heard the word Oxycontin, my 18-year-old senior son was lying dead in his bed from it," Bisch told Scripps News. "Ok, this was 2001. The very first time I heard the word Oxycontin. No one knew, I had no clue. That very night me and my family started faxing high schools in the city of Philadelphia, because no one knew about Oxycontin. That was February."

":In August of 2001 I attended the very first Congressional hearing on Oxycontin deaths," Bisch said. "It took until 2007 for the government to bring in Purdue Pharma...what we didn't know in 2007 was there was a 100 page prosecution memo ... [a] judge never got to see this memo, calling for criminal charges."

The now-blocked settlement would have been one of the largest ever agreed to by a drug company. it had the potential to put billions of dollars into treatment organizations that combat the opioid epidemic.