Throwing out the $4.5 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma is the right call

A federal judge’s decision to overturn a $4.5 billion settlement between Purdue Pharma and assorted state, local, and tribal governments is the right call. The settlement wrongly shielded the billionaire Sackler family, who owned the company that made the prescription painkiller OxyContin, from any and all civil liability in opioid-related tragedies.

As reported by The New York Times, the settlement was part of a complex restructuring plan for Purdue Pharma that was approved in September by a bankruptcy judge. But Judge Colleen McMahon of the US District of New York pulled the plug on it, because it protected the Sackler family from future civil lawsuits. After the Sacklers took more than $10 billion out of it, Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy. The Sacklers, who did not file for personal bankruptcy, offered to contribute toward the original settlement, “if – and only if – every member of the family could ‘achieve global peace’ from all civil [not criminal] litigation,” the judge wrote. And that, she said, was wrong. She did, however, also call the legal issue of the Sacklers’ release “a great unsettled question” of bankruptcy law and wrote, “This opinion will not be the last word on the subject, nor should it.”

The FDA Has Failed (Again) To Protect America

For decades, large corporations have repeatedly misled, lied, or unduly influenced the FDA. In so doing, the FDA betrayed the trust bestowed upon them by the American public.

McKinsey Settles for Nearly $600 Million Over Role in Opioid Crisis

McKinsey & Company, the consultant to blue-chip corporations and governments around the world, has agreed to pay nearly $600 million to settle investigations into its role in helping “turbocharge” opioid sales, a rare instance of it being held publicly accountable for its work with clients.

The firm has reached a $573 million agreement with attorneys general in 47 states, the District of Columbia and five territories, according to a court filing in Massachusetts on Thursday. Separate deals were announced in Washington State, for $13 million, and in West Virginia, for $10 million. Nevada, not party to the agreements, will continue to pursue its opioid investigation, according to the attorney general’s office.

The settlements come after lawsuits unearthed a trove of documents showing how McKinsey worked to drive sales of Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin painkiller amid an opioid crisis in the United States that has contributed to the deaths of more than 450,000 people over the past two decades.

Pharmacy chains face their first trial in U.S. opioid litigation

Four large pharmacy chains are set to face their first trial over the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic, creating new pressure to reach settlements with state and local governments who accuse them of contributing to the public health crisis.

The Ohio counties of Lake and Trumbull allege that oversight failures at pharmacies run by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, CVS Health Corp, Walmart Inc and Giant Eagle Inc led to excessive amounts of opioid pills in their communities.

Lawyers for the counties and companies are set to deliver opening statements on Monday to a federal jury in Cleveland, where thousands of similar lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, drug distributors and pharmacies are pending.

More than 3,300 cases have been brought largely by state and local governments seeking to hold the companies responsible for an opioid abuse epidemic that U.S. government data shows led to nearly 500,000 overdose deaths from 1999 to 2019.

Rite Aid settles bellwether opioid case with Ohio counties

Rite Aid Corp affiliates have settled claims by two Ohio counties that it contributed to the opioid addiction epidemic, just over a month before the case was set to go to trial.

The pharmacy chain operator and Lake and Trumbull counties disclosed the settlement in a motion filed Wednesday in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, to sever Rite Aid from the case. They did not reveal terms of the deal, which must be approved by Lake County Commissioners and Trumbull County Commissioners.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster granted the motion on Thursday.

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