An Appeals Court Gave the Sacklers Legal Immunity. Here’s What the Ruling Means.

Not yet. The ruling resolves a major hurdle on what has been a tortuous road. But before any money can be disbursed to states, communities, tribes and individuals, the latest version of the bankruptcy plan must go back to a federal district court judge, who will apply the appellate court’s instructions. The plan, now in its 12th amended version, will then return to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., for final approval and administration.

Given that every stage in the Purdue bankruptcy case has blown up any forecast of timing, it would be unwise to estimate how long it will be before the first check is in the mail.

The family has been off the Purdue board since 2018. When the bankruptcy takes effect, they will no longer be owners of the company and will receive no compensation. But they will still be very wealthy.

Some estimates have put the total Sackler fortunes at $11 billion, with a substantial amount in offshore accounts. The bulk of the payments will be disbursed over nine years, largely from proceeds on their investments, bolstered by eventual sales of their international opioid businesses.

The Sacklers have long been philanthropists, with the family name emblazoned on countless buildings, though many institutions have removed the Sackler name from public view in recent years. In the bankruptcy settlement plan, they have agreed to let American academic, medical and cultural institutions remove the Sackler name from their physical facilities, so long as the programs agree not to disparage the Sacklers.

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