A judge approved Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy settlement terms, dissolving the company and requiring its owners to pay billions in compensation, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Connecticut, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts.
- Connecticut: U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Drain on Wednesday approved a bankruptcy settlement that dissolved Purdue Pharma, ending thousands of opioid-related lawsuits from local and state governments, hospitals, and individuals, the New York Times reports. In addition, the Sackler family, who owns the company, received protection against future opioid-related liability in exchange for a $4.5 billion settlement, which will be paid out over roughly nine years. According to STAT News, going forward, Purdue Pharma will be transformed into a trust or a public benefit company, and future sales of its drugs will go toward the overall settlement. Several states, including Connecticut and Washington, have already indicated they will appeal the ruling, the Times reports. William Tong, Connecticut's attorney general, said, "Our bankruptcy system is broken. Connecticut is prepared to appeal, and we are weighing viable options to preserve our claims against the Sacklers." (Hoffman, New York Times, 9/1; Silverman, STAT News, 9/1)
- District of Columbia: The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in a five-to-four vote declined to block a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, with Chief Justice John Roberts and three liberal justices dissenting. The Texas law, which went into effect Wednesday, conflicts with Supreme Court precedent on abortion, which prohibit states from banning abortion prior to fetal viability, typically between 22 and 24 weeks. According to NPR, abortion providers are still able to challenge the law in state and federal courts, and it is possible the case will return to the Supreme Court in the future. "In reaching this conclusion, we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants' lawsuit," the justices wrote in a majority opinion. "In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas's law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts." (Totenberg, NPR, 9/2)
- Massachusetts: Biogen is providing its Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm free of charge to some patients as it waits for Medicare to finish its claim reviews, Reuters reports. The company provided the drug to Florida's First Choice Neurology, and patients have been able to take the drug through a "sample program," according to Jeffrey Gelblum, one of the clinic's neurologists. So far, more than 30 patients at the clinic have been treated with Aduhelm. According to Becker's Hospital Review, FDA initially approved Aduhelm, which is priced at $56,000, in June through an accelerated approval process, making it the first Alzheimer's drug approved in 20 years. However, its approval is currently under investigation by HHS' Office of Inspector General and two House committees after critics argued there was not enough evidence of its clinical benefits. (Beasley, Reuters, 8/30; Adams, Becker's Hospital Review, 8/31)