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Purdue Pharma mediator indicates Sackler opioid deal in final stage -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A pharmacist holds 40 mg pills of OxyContin prescription, manufactured by Purdue Pharma L.D. Local pharmacy in Provo Utah. April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey

Jonathan Stempel and Dietrich Knauth

NEW YORK (Reuters), -A Purdue Pharma mediator indicated Wednesday that an agreement was in the works between Purdue Pharma’s owners, and the U.S. states that are pressing for more money to address allegations the OxyContin maker fuelled the opioid epidemic.

After they blocked an earlier settlement which included a $4.3B cash payment, members of the Sackler family have tried to negotiate with eight states as well as the District of Columbia.

According to Shelley Chapman’s February report, the Sacklers proposed to mediate a settlement of up to $6Billion. Most states have agreed to those terms.

Chapman stated Wednesday that she unilaterally extended talks. This was allowed by Robert Drain, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge.

Although neither Purdue or the mediator provided any specifics during Wednesday’s court hearing, Drain stated that he believes the mediation is proceeding as planned after reading the most recent report.

Drain provided a legal shield that protected the Sacklers against being sued in connection with the opioid crisis. It was extended to allow mediation to proceed. Without Drain’s extension, the protection would have been ineffective on March 3, and it would have run out of time.

Chapman reported that she will submit another mediation update at the “appropriate time” and didn’t request an extension with a date as in past reports.

Purdue continues to mediate, but Purdue also tries to revive the bankruptcy plan it had previously created based upon the $4.3 Billion settlement.

Company appeals December’s ruling of a U.S. district judge which blocked the plan. The U.S Court of Appeals for New York 2nd Circuit has stated that oral arguments will be held during April’s last week.

Purdue sought Chapter 11 protection after it was hit with thousands upon thousands of lawsuits. The suit claimed that Purdue and Sackler family members used deceptive advertising to promote a widespread opioid epidemic.

It pleaded guilty in misbranding and fraud to charges related to OxyContin’s marketing between 2007-2020. Family members of Sackler have denied any wrongdoing.

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