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A federal court judge has reversed the hotly contested Purdue Pharma bankruptcy plan after deciding a bankruptcy judge did not have authority to grant immunity to the Sackler family members who control the controversial drug maker.

A provision in the plan grants immunity to some of the Sacklers as well as hundreds of their associates from future lawsuits, even though — unlike Purdue — they did not file for bankruptcy protection. The Sackler family members had insisted that a bankruptcy deal would not be possible, though, unless they were released from all future liability related to the harm caused by Purdue’s OxyContin painkiller.


This proved to be a key sticking point as the bankruptcy plan took shape over the past couple of years, even though court documents revealed the extent to which some Sackler family members withdrew an estimated $10 billion from 2008 to 2017. More than half of that money was either invested in offshore companies owned by the Sacklers or deposited into trusts that could not be reached in bankruptcy and offshore locations, court documents stated. Approximately $4.6 billion of that amount was used to pay pass through taxes.

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