A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in White Plains ruled on Tuesday that OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma can remain in business while it goes through the bankruptcy protection process and continues to work on settling the 2,600-plus lawsuits filed against it.
“This is a highly unusual case in that the debtors have pledged to turn over their business to the claimants,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain said. “All of the claimants, in essence, have the same interest in maximizing the value of the business and avoiding immediate and irreparable harm.”
Purdue Pharma declared bankruptcy on Sunday. Under its proposed settlement offer, members of the Sackler family who own the Stamford firm would turn its operations over to a trust controlled by those seeking redress for what they say is Purdue’s contributions to the national opioid crisis.
Only about half of the states suing the company have expressed support for that offer – valued at as much as $12 billion – with Connecticut and New York among those who have rejected it.
Drain’s ruling will allow Purdue to continue paying employees and vendors, supplying pills to distributors, and keeping current on taxes and insurance.
The bankruptcy proceedings could take over a year, according to Purdue’s lawyers.