It could end years of litigation if Judge Robert Drain approves the plan, which is estimated to be worth $10 billion. The Sackler family would be forced to give up their ownership and pay $4.5billion to convert the company to a new entity. Profits will then be used to combat the epidemic. The ruling could be appealed by objectors.
If the judge rejects the plan, the next steps will be more complicated. The case could be reopened by the parties, and the long-running lawsuits against Sackler family members and the company could resume.
The main issue in the settlement is whether Sackler's family members will be protected from lawsuits related to opioids. They will not be immune from criminal charges. However, there is no evidence of any.
The company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, would be transformed into a new entity. Its board of directors would be appointed by the government. The profits and money from the Sacklers would be used to fund treatment, education, and compensation for some victims of the crisis. The payments for those who qualify would range from $3,500 up to $48,000.
The settlement would allow public officials to appoint members to the board of the new company, which would replace Purdue.
The plan was supported by the majority of state and local governments, although many were reluctant to do so, as well as groups representing people who have been affected by prescription opioids.
The settlement was opposed by nine states, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee, which aims to protect the nation’s bankruptcy system, largely due to the protections given to the Sackler families.
Drain urged those who are still opposed to a settlement to reach an agreement. He warned that prolonged litigation could delay the payment of compensation money to victims and prevent them from implementing the necessary programs to end the epidemic. The number of opioid-related deaths in the United States reached 70,000 last year at a record speed.