AG Rosenblum Statement on Purdue Pharma’s Bankruptcy Plan

September 1, 2021
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Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum issued the following statement after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain indicated that he would approve Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy plan.

The plan requires the Sackler family pay $4.3 billion over nine years to a large group of states, municipalities and private plantiffs, including Oregon, which have sued or have claims against the company. Even though the judge approved the plan today, he acknowledged that the relatively low Sackler payment was “a bitter result”.

In exchange for the payment, the plan includes a lifetime legal shield from civil liability for the Sackler family and, with some exceptions, denies states the power to go after the Sackler family in the future. Oregon, along with eight other states and the District of Columbia, continues to believe this third-party release of the Sackler family is improper and deprives the states of their rights in this regard.

Statement from Attorney General Rosenblum:

“Today’s decision by Judge Drain to move forward with Purdue’s bankruptcy plan, though not unexpected, is extremely disappointing. I continue to maintain the owner of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family, is hiding behind their company’s bankruptcy to keep from taking personal responsibility for the opioid epidemic. They are essentially obtaining a lifetime “free pass” to avoid legal liability to the states. 

In addition to the negotiated amount of money being insufficient given the magnitude of their responsibility, the agreement allows the Sackler name, despite its clear connection to the death and devastation of the decades-long opioid crisis, to remain on hospitals and museums in multiple cities. The repository of documents, considered by some to be a key concession by Purdue, is inadequate because it fails to include documents surrounding the multistate 2007 settlement which Purdue subsequently violated. This plan is simply inadequate to meet the moment.

We have fifteen days to file a notice of appeal of the plan approved today. While multiple states have announced their intent to appeal, my legal team, led by Senior Assistant Attorney General David Hart, is reviewing Judge Drain’s lengthy ruling closely, and Oregon will take this two-week period as an opportunity to evaluate all our options.”

An audit of Purdue introduced during the bankruptcy proceedings in late 2019 showed that the Sackler family has pulled nearly $11 billion out of Purdue » since 2008. During testimony before the bankruptcy court last week, Dr. Kathe Sackler conceded that, as she wrote in a 2001 email, her family “amassed a vast fortune” and create “layers and layers” before their “true support system would be affected.”

The original lawsuits » assert Purdue embarked on a massive deceptive marketing campaign to convince doctors and the public that OxyContin is effective for treating chronic pain and has a low risk of addiction, all without evidence to support its claims.