A U.S. bankruptcy judge is expected to rule Wednesday on a plan for OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to settle thousands of lawsuits brought by state and local governments and others over its role in the nation's opioids crisis, which has killed half a million Americans over the last 20 years.
The deal could be worth $10 billion, with $4.5 billion coming from members of the Sackler family who own the company. Under the deal, the Sacklers would give up ownership of the company and get protection from lawsuits over opioids.
Purdue would be remade into a new company with profits being used to pay some victims and fund drug treatment, education and other measures to fight the opioid epidemic.
The most contentious issue in the settlement is the provision that the Sackler family be shielded from lawsuits. According to the Associated Press, the family would not be protected from criminal charges, though there are no indications that such charges are forthcoming.
Nine states, Washington, D.C., Seattle and the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee, which seeks to protect the nation's bankruptcy system, opposed the settlement, largely because of the protections granted to the Sackler family.