The Supreme Court backs Sacklers’ $6 billion Purdue Pharma deal


The Supreme Court backs Sacklers’ $6 billion Purdue Pharma deal

David G Savage

Dec. 4, 2023

Supreme Court justices sounded ready Monday to uphold a massive bankruptcy deal that includes $6 billion from the Sackler family to help the nation and tens of thousands of victims recover from the opioid crisis.

Most judges said the deal seemed like the best possible outcome, even though it gave the Sacklers protection from future lawsuits.

Most of their questions were critical of the Biden administration’s claim that the deal would not go through because the Sacklers are not bankrupt.

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh said tens of thousands of families have been directly affected

By the

OxyContin “overwhelmingly approved” of this settlement, he told a Justice Department lawyer. “The federal government, which has no interest in this, is telling the families that we are not going to give you a quick payment and that we are going to let this money go to the United States.”

Justice Elena Kagan agreed, saying the federal government is trying to “blow up the deal,” which has overwhelming support from all sides. “They say this is the best deal they can get… And they say if this deal blows up, they might get nothing.”

State attorneys from all 50 states approved the deal because it would provide money for addiction treatment



But the Justice Department objected at the last minute, arguing that wealthy people like the Sacklers should not be allowed to use the bankruptcy system to protect themselves from future lawsuits. Although their company, Purdue Pharma, has filed for bankruptcy, this does not apply to all members of the Sackler family.

They originally offered about $4 billion to settle all claims and later increased the total to $6 billion.

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. said it may not be realistic to obtain more. Their assets may not be “reachable,” he said, because they now live outside the United States.

However, not all judges agreed. Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Ke


tanji brown jackson focused on the bankruptcy law and wondered how it could be extended to people who are not bankrupt.

“It would raise serious due process claims,” Gorsuch said, if he were to tell Oxycontin victims they cannot sue the Sacklers for the harm caused by the opioids aggressively marketed by Purdue Pharma.


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