Attorney General Bonta Issues Statement on Federal Appeals Court Decision Allowing $6 Billion Purdue Pharma Settlement to Move Forward

Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued the following statement in response to a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit allowing OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy reorganization plan to move forward. The decision allows the $6 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma secured by Attorney General Bonta and eight other attorney generals to go forward. The settlement will bring approximately $486 million to California to fund opioid addiction treatment and prevention.

“The opioid crisis has left a trail of pain, grief and destruction across the nation that will leave its mark on generations to come. Its ringleaders — Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family — bear responsibility for causing much of this grief," said Attorney General Bonta. "Today’s court decision allows nearly $500 million of Purdue Pharma’s ill-gotten gains to be brought back to California, to heal our communities and provide real relief to countless suffering families. However, disappointingly, the decision does not require Purdue to lift the Sacklers' liability shield from private claims. The victims of this crisis deserve justice and they should have the option to take Purdue to court for it.”

Purdue Pharma is the manufacturer of OxyContin, a powerful prescription opioid and key contributor to the opioid crisis. Even after Purdue and a number of its executives pleaded guilty to felony misbranding of OxyContin, the company continued selling and marketing the drug. Their revenues amounted to $3 billion in 2010, and as much as $1.8 billion in 2017.

In March 2022, Attorney General Bonta announced a $6 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, estimated to bring approximately $486 million to California to fund opioid addiction treatment and prevention.

The settlement was possible only because the California Department of Justice fought confirmation of the Purdue bankruptcy plan, which would have given the Sackler’s protection from civil liability through non-consensual third-party releases. Once California and the state coalition threatened that liability shield, the Sacklers agreed to pay up to an additional $1.675 billion to help abate the opioid crisis nationwide, bringing total plan relief to as much as $6 billion.

Under the current agreed-upon settlement, Purdue’s plan no longer provides the Sacklers with nonconsensual releases from state law enforcement claims. However, the plan still provides nonconsensual releases from private claims against Sackler family members by individuals directly harmed by their misconduct. This is not consistent with the law, and the Attorney General previously urged the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to block plan confirmation until it is addressed.

More details on the settlement with Purdue Pharma settlement can be found here.

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