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Earlier this week, Purdue Pharma filed a bankruptcy plan that would have some members of the Sackler family, which owns the drug company, relinquish control and pay nearly $4.3 billion to reimburse states, cities, and tribes for the costs associated with the long-running opioid crisis in the U.S. The plan is designed to end nearly 3,000 lawsuits that blamed Purdue for helping to spark a wave of prescription abuse, addictions, and deaths over the past two decades.

As part of the proposal, a new private company with an independent board selected by state and local governments will focus on developing and distributing medicines to address opioid use disorder and overdoses. But approval by creditors is uncertain. Attorneys general from nearly two dozen states, who have fought the company in bankruptcy, criticized the deal.


We spoke with Charlotte Bismuth, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney who recently published a book called ‘Bad Medicine’ (about a doctor she prosecuted for dealing drugs), calls the bankruptcy plan a “heist.” And as a member of an opioid advocacy group, she regularly studies court documents concerning Purdue and the Sacklers. This is an edited version of our conversation. 

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