Bankruptcy judge approves Purdue Pharma's $8.3B opioid settlement

Judge Robert Drain approved Purdue Pharma's $8.3 billion settlement with the Department of Justice Nov. 17, nearly a month after the drugmaker agreed to plead guilty to three criminal counts, including federal anti-kickback law violation and conspiracy to defraud, ABC News reported.

The drugmaker filed for bankruptcy in September 2019 to resolve thousands of lawsuits accusing it of fueling the opioid epidemic, primarily by flooding communities with its highly addictive narcotic OxyContin and downplaying the painkiller's potential for misuse.

According to the justice department, the resolution stipulates Purdue Pharma would emerge from bankruptcy as a public benefit company, owned by a trust or similar entity, and would operate entirely to benefit the American public. It would produce legitimate prescription drugs as well as treatments for opioid overdose, and its profits would go to efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

If that condition is met, the justice department would collect $225 million from the Sackler family, who owns Purdue Pharma, and $1.775 billion would be earmarked for states' opioid abatement programs, according to ABC News.

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