Island group may play key role in settlement

  • Christoper Carroll and Dick Geddes of Kennedys Law at the Hot Topics Forum at the BUEI (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Christoper Carroll and Dick Geddes of Kennedys Law at the Hot Topics Forum at the BUEI (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A Bermudian-based group of companies could play a pivotal role in the proposed settlement of opioid legislation in the United States involving OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and its owners, the Sackler family.

The outline of a proposed settlement that Purdue values at between $10 billion and $12 billion was filed in the US Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, NY last Tuesday.

On Friday, US Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain ordered a pause to all litigation involving Purdue until November 6, giving the bankrupt drugmaker time to conclude a deal with plaintiffs.

The proposed settlement aims to resolve more than 2,600 lawsuits by states, local governments and other plaintiffs against Purdue and its Sackler family owners.

Under the agreement, the Sackler family would give up control of Purdue, turning the company over to an entity that would run the company and use its profits for the public good.

The money for the proposed settlement is to come jointly from Purdue, and from the Sackler family.

In Bermuda, the Mundipharma group of companies, owned by members of the Sackler family, have offices on Par-la-Ville Road in Hamilton.

Top US insurance litigators Dick Geddes and Christopher Carroll, of international law firm Kennedys, appeared at the Hot Topics forum organised by the Bermuda office of Kennedys on Thursday. Mr Geddes is a partner in the firm’s Chicago office, while Mr Carroll, also a partner, is based in New York.

Together, they gave a presentation entitled “Opioid Crisis: Beginning of the End or End of the Beginning”?

Afterwards, the two visiting lawyers agreed that the Mundipharma companies may have a part to play in the proposed settlement.

Mr Geddes said: “The proposed settlement involves numbers that Purdue is casting as $10 billion to $12 billion. Ten billion will theoretically come from the continued sale of Purdue’s products under the newly-structured public benefit corporation.”

He added: “The other chunk, about $3 billion, theoretically will come from the family that owns 100 per cent of the assets of the Purdue companies, and that is the Sacklers. The question is where that money will come from.”

In filings with the US Court, Mr Geddes said, a company is identified as a non-US pharmaceutical company owned by the Sacklers.

Mr Geddes said: “That is Mundipharma. It’s very possible that Mundipharma could play a role in the settlement.”

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Published Oct 15, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 14, 2019 at 7:53 pm)

Island group may play key role in settlement

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