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The Supreme Court on Thursday derailed a multi-billion-dollar bankruptcy plan for Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, siding with the Biden administration over its objections to the agreement’s broad protection for the Sackler family from civil lawsuits related to their role in the opioid epidemic.

In a 5-4 opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court held that the bankruptcy code does not authorize a legal shield as part of a reorganization plan.

“Someday, Congress may choose to add to the bankruptcy code special rules for opioid-related bankruptcies as it has for asbestos-related cases. Or it may choose not to do so. Either way, if a policy decision like that is to be made, it is for Congress to make,” Gorsuch wrote. “Despite the misimpression left by today’s dissent, our only proper task is to interpret and apply the law as we find it; and nothing in present law authorizes the Sackler discharge.”

The decision from the Supreme Court in the case known as Harrington v. Purdue Pharma upends the agreement negotiated with state and local governments, and victims of the opioid epidemic, which included a commitment from the Sacklers to contribute up to $6 billion for abatement of the opioid crisis in exchange for the legal shield. The agreement also included $750 million to provide compensation to victims.

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