Victims of opioid addiction weren’t in the room when OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma persuaded half the state attorneys general to settle claims over the company’s role in the nationwide overdose epidemic.
Now that Purdue is in federal bankruptcy court, four people whose lives were touched by addiction have important seats at the table — and could force fundamental changes to the tentative deal. They are part of a bankruptcy committee that will play a major role in deciding how much Purdue will pay and potentially how that money is to be spent.
The committee can investigate Purdue’s operations and possibly even go after more money from the members of the Sackler family who own the company. They will play a central role in evaluating the tentative settlement reached by the attorneys general representing roughly half the states.
The four are a mother and a grandfather of children born dependent on opioids, a man in recovery from addiction and a mother who lost a son to overdose. Together, they could be an emotionally persuasive minority on the nine-member Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors appointed by the U.S. trustee overseeing the bankruptcy.
“There’s not a shy person in the bunch,” said addiction