Editors' (re)View: A controversial Purdue ruling; Sun hopes for clearer skies

June 2, 2023
Pharma Manufacturing editors Karen Langhauser and Andrea Corona comment on the notable happenings in the pharma industry from the week of May 28

Editor’s note: Welcome to Editors' (re)View, our editors’ takes on things going on in the pharma world that deserve some extra consideration.

A controversial Purdue ruling

Last week, we reported that Purdue Pharma was granted permission in U.S. bankruptcy court to sell its consumer health business, Avrio Health, to Arcadia subsidiary Atlantis Consumer Healthcare.

But the bigger news came earlier this week, when a federal appeals court in New York finally cleared the way for a bankruptcy deal for the opioid manufacturer.

The controversy lies in the bankruptcy settlement itself, which shields Purdue owners, the Sackler family, from private and public claims. Purdue's aggressive marketing of OxyContin, under Sackler family leadership, is widely seen as the start of the national opioid crisis. (And has incited some really creative protests, including an 800-pound, nearly 11-foot-long steel sculpture of a burned drug spoon left in front of Purdue's Connecticut headquarters.)

The chapter 11 plan was proposed back in March 2021. The $10 billion plan was intended to resolve thousands of opioid lawsuits by restructuring Purdue into an entity that would steer profits to plaintiffs and require the Sackler family to contribute nearly $4.5 billion (paid out over nine years) to the settlement — but clear them of any personal liability.

On Dec. 16 2021, the U.S. District Court vacated the order confirming the chapter 11 plan, overturning the Sackler's settlement (apparently the court did not love the fact that Sackler family members transferred $10.4 billion from the company over the decade before the bankruptcy). Purdue appealed the decision.

Now, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has reviewed the decision and overturned it — which again releases the family from liability.

The family, however, hasn't walked away completely scot free. In addition to the $4.5 billion, members of the Sackler family were mandated during a 2022 hearing to listen to the personal stories of those who had suffered from opioid addiction or has lost loved ones.

—Karen Langhauser

Sun Pharma wants to shine

Sun Pharma — India’s largest drugmaker — is no stranger to controversy.

From IT incidents, to the FDA halting its trials, to import alerts, it seems it always rains on Sun.

But earlier this week things started looking up for the company, with Sun announcing its plans to acquire all remaining shares of Taro Pharmaceuticals in an all-cash transaction. 

Sun first acquired a controlling interest in generics maker in 2010, in pursuit of an agreement inked in 2007. In 2013, Sun made another unsuccessful attempt to acquire the remaining shares of the company, but shareholders rejected the offer due to the improved financial performance.

Under Israeli law, the reverse triangular merger requires Sun to form a wholly-owned subsidiary, which will enter into the merger agreement with Taro. Following the transaction, Taro will become a fully owned subsidiary of Sun Pharma, and its shares will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The offer is set at $38 per unit, as mentioned in a press release. In response, Taro has established a special committee to assess the proposal. According to analysts, the offer represents a premium of 41.5 percent over the average closing price of Taro's ordinary shares during the last 60 trading days.

While the deal has yet to be finalized, it seems that there may be clearer skies in Sun Pharma’s near future.

— Andrea Corona 

About the Author

Karen P. Langhauser | Chief Content Director, Pharma Manufacturing

Karen currently serves as Pharma Manufacturing's chief content director.

Now having dedicated her entire career to b2b journalism, Karen got her start writing for Food Manufacturing magazine. She made the decision to trade food for drugs in 2013, when she joined Putman Media as the digital content manager for Pharma Manufacturing, later taking the helm on the brand in 2016.

As an award-winning journalist with 20+ years experience writing in the manufacturing space, Karen passionately believes that b2b content does not have to suck. As the content director, her ongoing mission has been to keep Pharma Manufacturing's editorial look, tone and content fresh and accessible.

Karen graduated with honors from Bucknell University, where she majored in English and played Division 1 softball for the Bison. Happily living in NJ's famed Asbury Park, Karen is a retired Garden State Rollergirl, known to the roller derby community as the 'Predator-in-Chief.' 

About the Author

Andrea Corona | Senior Editor

Andrea Corona serves as the Senior Editor of Pharma Manufacturing — a leading source of news and insights for pharma professionals — and is responsible for creation of editorial content, moderating webinars, and co-hosting the "Off script" podcast. Her editorial journey started as an as associate editor at Biocompare, an online platform providing product information, industry news, articles, and other resources to support scientists in their work. Before Biocompare, she was a digital producer at Science Friday, focusing on adapting radio segments for the web and social media management. Andrea earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and biology from the State University of New York, at Purchase College.