Purdue Pharma judge urges opioid plan opponents to settle with Sacklers

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of prescription painkiller OxyContin made by Purdue Pharma LP sit on a shelf at a local pharmacy in Provo

By Maria Chutchian

(Reuters) – The judge overseeing Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy on Friday urged opponents of the OxyContin maker’s reorganization plan, which would resolve widespread opioid litigation, to settle quickly with the company’s Sackler family owners because it would save time and money on appeals later.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in White Plains, New York, made his remark during a hearing on Friday morning, five days before he is set to rule on the plan.

The deal, if approved, would clear a path to resolve thousands of opioid lawsuits and shield the Sackler family owners from future litigation. Opponents of the deal have said the releases are too broad.

“I think, having heard the lawyers from both sides – they are very talented lawyers, they know the risks they face – I would hope their clients would also be realistic about those risks,” Drain said.

Purdue has said the deal, which directs funding toward opioid abatement programs, is worth more than $10 billion. The Sacklers have agreed to contribute approximately $4.5 billion.

(Reporting by Maria Chutchian; Editing by Marguerita Choy)