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Tribe opposes sweetheart settlement for Sackler family, Purdue Pharma

Proposed bankruptcy agreement is inconsistent with Tribal values, view of justice Yesterday, the Yurok Tribal Council unanimously voted to oppose a proposed bankruptcy settlement agreement and restructuring plan for OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma. The settlement is part of Purdue Pharma’s proposed bankruptcy plan, which seeks to resolve thousands of lawsuits brought against the company and members of the Sackler family for fueling the opioid crisis by intentionally misleading doctors and patients about the numerous risks associated with taking the highly addictive OxyContin. If White Plains, NY bankruptcy court judge Robert Drain approves the agreement, the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma will have to pay approximately $150 million to all Tribes in the United States over nine years. The Yurok Tribe’s portion is roughly .5 percent of the tribal allocation. While the Sackler family is contributing approximately $4.5 billion to the bankruptcy settlement, due to the family’s vast fortune and investments, it is likely they will recover that contribution over the same time period. Furthermore, the Sacklers will not have to admit any wrongdoing and they will be permanently shielded from future opioid-related civil lawsuits. “There is no justice in this settlement,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “The Yurok Tribe is incredibly disappointed with the agreement because it does not hold Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family accountable for the damage they have caused in our community and across the continent. Everything about the ability of this family to escape consequences and responsibility for premediated actions offends the world view of the Yurok people.” “In the absence of the Sackler family’s insatiable greed, the abuse of prescription opioid narcotics on tribal lands would never have become the crisis it is today,” added Yurok Chief Justice Abby Abinanti. “According to our world view, perpetrators of wrongs must do everything possible to make the victim whole in order for justice to be achieved. That is why Yuroks cannot support this sweetheart settlement for the Sackler family. They need to publicly take responsibility for their actions and invest every penny they made from selling OxyContin in restoring the individuals, families and communities ravaged by their purposeful greed.” Y U R O K T R I B E 190 Klamath Boulevard • Post Office Box 1027 • Klamath, CA 95548The Yurok Tribe joined the litigation against Purdue and the Sackler family as a means of pursuing justice for the disproportionate number of Native American lives that have been lost to the opioid crisis. Believed by many to be a driving force behind the widespread public health emergency, the Sackler family has amassed billions in wealth from selling OxyContin, a drug that closely resembles heroin. From OxyContin alone, Purdue Pharma generated approximately $35 billion in revenue. The Tribe’s participation in the case made it eligible to vote on this inadequate settlement. The federal bankruptcy court judge will take the vote into consideration when making a final decision on the settlement.

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