WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine joined 23 other state attorneys general in issuing a statement expressing disappointment in a plan filed by opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma in bankruptcy court. The attorneys general expressed concern that the plan, which would resolve their lawsuits against the company and its owners, the Sackler family, does not provide adequate funds to address the opioid crisis, among other significant flaws. The 24 attorneys general issued the following statement:
“We are disappointed in this plan. While it contains improvements over the proposal that Purdue announced and we rejected in September 2019, it falls short of the accountability that families and survivors deserve.
“Our states investigated Purdue and the Sacklers and filed the lawsuits that took down their criminal enterprise. During the bankruptcy, our states worked together, across party lines, to force Purdue to turn over millions of pages of evidence and to question the Sacklers under oath. We also joined with every state and thousands of cities and towns to ensure that every dollar states recover is dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis.
“Now, the Sacklers and Purdue need to own up to their decades of misconduct and their role in creating this crisis. Purdue needs to amend its plan to provide for:
- A prompt and orderly wind-down of the company that does not excessively entangle it with states and other creditors.
- Additional value from the Sacklers to creditors, including the states, to confront the opioid crisis that is causing so much pain.
- Transparency in the form of robust document disclosures so the public understands the extent of Purdue’s and the Sacklers’ misconduct to make sure it never happens again.
- Protections for nonprofits over naming rights for charitable gifts.
“Right now, millions of people across the country are desperately suffering from opioid addiction. They need help and they need it now. We are committed to working with all parties in the bankruptcy to improve this plan and serve our constituents. Our focus remains delivering critically needed assistance to the people of our states.”
In June 2019, AG Racine sued Purdue Pharma and Richard Sackler. Just a few months later, in September, Purdue filed for bankruptcy protection, and the litigation stopped. Although the Sacklers are not debtors in Purdue’s bankruptcy case, they are seeking releases of the claims against them in return for a financial contribution to Purdue’s settlement. Although attorneys general have worked over the last year and a half to come to agreement with Purdue and the Sacklers, Purdue’s proposed plan falls short in several significant ways.
AG Racine is joined in the statement by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.