NEW YORK – A federal judge overturned an opioid settlement of more than $4 billion dollars on Thursday.
The settlement had given Purdue Pharma – the maker of the prescription painkiller oxycontin – and its given owners the Sackler Family broad protection against civil litigation.
It also resolved all outstanding civil suits against Purdue Pharma. The bankruptcy court said Thursday it lacked the statutory authority to give the Sackler Family those protections; saying they are not permitted under the bankruptcy code.
Purdue Pharma – which said it would appeal the ruling – declared bankruptcy in 2019. That put on hold thousands of lawsuits filed against the company.
Following the initial settlement in September, members of the Sackler Family continued to deny the allegations against the family.
At least eight states previously appealed the controversial bankruptcy court decision, citing the low dollar amount among other issues.
This has been perhaps the most closely watched among the web of litigation against companies in the pharmaceutical industry.
The suits are seeking to hold them accountable for the epidemic of opioid addiction in the U.S., which has claimed more than a half-million lives.
The Sackler Family has not yet responded to a request for comment.