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Good news Friday – Opioid settlement rejected, lower drug costs, and a solid economy

A beautiful Friday morning here in New York’s Finger Lakes…here’s the good news from this week.

First, the Supreme Court rejected the Purdue Pharma opioid settlement agreement – thereby allowing victims to pursue legal action against the Sackler family. As one who’s been deeply involved in the opioid disaster for a decade and half, I have somewhat mixed feelings about this – but have to support the Court’s decision.

The settlement would have shielded the Sackler family – many of whom were top execs and owners of Purdue – from personal liability.

It’s not hyperbole to say the Sacklers were directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of daughters, sons, moms and dads, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors.  The settlement would have allowed these killers to keep some of their billions while avoiding any potential criminal or civil liability.

The downside is the settlement would have provided hundreds of millions of dollars for treatment and recovery services for addicts…losing those dollars is a tragedy.

That said, its very likely the Sacklers and Purdue will still have to provide funds to victims…and some of the Sacklers will now face civil – and potentially criminal – prosecution.

Lower drug costs

From CNBC:

  • The Biden administration  will impose inflation penalties on 64 prescription drugs, lowering costs for certain older Americans enrolled in Medicare.
  • A provision of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act requires drugmakers to pay rebates to Medicare if they hike the price of a medication faster than the rate of inflation.


The economy grew by 3.1% YoY last year…a really solid result!

What does this mean for you?

Sacklers don’t avoid prosecution and liability, drug costs will drop, and the economy is pretty darn solid. 

Reminder – switching to Substack shortly – this may look differently in your email!

2 thoughts on “Good news Friday – Opioid settlement rejected, lower drug costs, and a solid economy”

  1. Hi Joe – one comment on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Purdue Pharma case. The decision is not a public policy determination, an ideological issue nor a comment on the guilt of any party. Rather it is purely a technical analysis of the bankruptcy code to determine whether Congress intended to provide the bankruptcy court with authority to release non-debtors like the Sackler family – the kind of stuff only lawyers could love. In a 5-4 decision which featured conservative Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh in agreement with liberal Justices Kagan and Sotomayor in dissenting, the Supreme Court interpreted the statute to mean that the bankruptcy court did not have that authority. However, it is useful to keep in mind that 99% of the plaintiffs (a mix of individuals, municipalities and states) were perfectly agreeable to releasing the Sacklers in exchange for their $6 billion payment and supported their efforts to gain approval for the settlement in the Supreme Court. It now remains to be seen whether those plaintiffs will ultimately get more or less from the Sackler family. Accordingly, this decision is no way a victory for the plaintiffs. In fact, at best it means lots of uncertainty and delay in receiving compensation.

    Have a great weekend –

    1. Thanks for the analysis Mike – appreciate you weighing in.

      While I agree that the Court’s decision will delay once again recompense for those affected by the Sacklers’ misdeeds, my personal opinion is the agreement did not hold them to account. The Sacklers sucked over $11 billion from Purdue Pharma over the last two decades, and would pay about half of that in the settlement.

      The actual victims (families) would get between $3500 and $48,000…the vast majority of the $6 billion – to be specific $5.25 billion – would NOT go to victims but rather governmental entities and other organizations that filed suit against Purdue – and their attorneys.

      As you rightly note the Court’s decision was on a technicality – the bankruptcy code did not allow third party, non-consensual releases.

      That said, in my view the result – hopefully a much more punitive penalty for members of the Sackler family and their partners in this catastrophe – more than justifies the short-term loss to the plaintiffs.

      If wealthy people and organizations can get away with causing tens of thousands of deaths with no personal liability, this will happen again and again. I do not want to live in a country where that is possible.

      be well Joe

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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