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16 Sep, 2019 03:41

OxyContin maker files for bankruptcy faced with over 2,000 lawsuits over opioid epidemic

OxyContin maker files for bankruptcy faced with over 2,000 lawsuits over opioid epidemic

Purdue Pharma, accused of fostering the US opioid crisis with its drug OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy protection in a New York court, after a tentative settlement deal faced opposition from multiple states.

The company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in White Plains, New York on Sunday evening, as part of its efforts to finalize a settlement with state and local governments, which sued the pharmaceutical giant en mass for its role in the nation’s deadly opioid crisis.

The much-anticipated filing aims to help the company to shield itself from 2,600 lawsuits, including from 26 states.

Also on rt.com Sackler family behind OxyContin busted trying to hide $1bn as lawsuits over opioid crisis pile up

“This settlement framework avoids wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years on protracted litigation,” Steve Miller, chairman of Purdue’s board of directors, said, adding that the company will keep on working with plaintiff representatives to thrash out the settlement agreement “as quickly as possible.”

Numerous plaintiffs accused the company of making huge profits from selling the painkiller, first introduced in 1996, while downplaying its addictive qualities, thus fueling the US opioid crisis, which has seen over 200,000 people dying as result of overdoses with prescription drugs from 1999 to 2017.

The bankruptcy announcement comes several days after the Sackler family behind the controversial drug maker reached a tentative multi-billion-dollar settlement with 23 states, which envisages it paying the sum over seven years while not admitting guilt.

Also on rt.com ‘Senseless death must stop’: Five states sue Purdue Pharma for driving opioid crisis

Overall, Purdue is set to fork out nearly $12 billion to state and local authorities under the deal, including $3 billion that would come directly from the Sacklers, who would also give up the control of the company.

The proposed settlement requires the company to file for bankruptcy, which it ultimately did on Sunday. Not everybody is, however, on board, with some states arguing that the company must also offset the costs of treatment and incarceration.

Half of the states have not yet signed on to the deal, and several states, including New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Wisconsin, have rejected it outright, vowing to push for the litigation to go forward.

There have been concerns that the billionaire family, faced with mounting lawsuits, could attempt to hide theirs assets from the court. On Friday, New York’s attorney general uncovered over $1 billion in wire transfers routed through several Swiss banks by the family, accusing them of trying to “shield their financial misconduct.”

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