(Bloomberg) — Purdue Pharma LP’s $8.3 billion settlement with the U.S. government calling for the drugmaker to plead guilty to three felonies for illegally marketing its opioid-based OxyContin painkiller can move forward, a judge concluded.
Purdue officials said Tuesday U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain’s approval of the deal is an “essential step” in their push to resolve more than 2,000 lawsuits accusing the company of helping to fuel the U.S’s opioid epidemic by wrongfully promoting the painkiller.
The judge also ruled members of the billionaire Sackler family -– who now own Purdue -– can make a $225 million settlement payment to the government without creating other obstacles in the company’s bankruptcy case.
Drain’s sign-off on the plea deal will help advance Purdue’s effort to provide “financial resources and lifesaving medicines to address the opioid crisis,” company officials said in an emailed statement.
Purdue officials are proposing to turn over the company to states and local governments along with as much as $3 billion in cash from members of the Sackler family as part of a bankruptcy plan to resolve all its opioid liability.
The family would no longer own the drugmaker under the deal, which has been valued at about $10 billion. A group of state attorneys general and opioid victims objected to having governments forced to get into the drug business to generate funds to beef up opioid-treatment programs.