Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy late Sunday in efforts to shield itself from more than 2,600 federal and state lawsuits
According to The New York Times, the infamous maker of OxyContin Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late Sunday in efforts to shield itself from more than 2,600 federal and state lawsuits regarding the company’s role in the opioid epidemic. The terms of the bankruptcy filing include resolutions for almost all cases against the company, and is expected to be contested by a group of states, led by Massachusetts and New York, who don’t believe that the company’s owners, the Sacklers, should get off easy for the effects their product had on the American people. ~
The opioid epidemic in the U.S. has been a raging issue since the late 1990’s. According to drugabuse.gov, healthcare providers began prescribing opioid pain relievers in the 90’s at a higher rate due to continued reassurance of the minimal addictiveness of these opioids by large pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma. This larger supply of pain-killers led to the misuse of the product, and it soon became clear to providers that these medications were much more addictive than once previously thought. In the calendar year of 2017, “more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of opioid overdoses, including prescription opioids [OxyContin], heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl.” ~
The restructuring of the pharmaceutical company through bankruptcy came at the center of a settlement agreement reached between Purdue and thousands of cities and areas around the U.S. that have filed lawsuits in state and federal court for its role in the epidemic. The new structure of the company will be considered a public benefit trust entity, in which all profits from the company’s continued production of products would go towards paying off the claims of thousands of plaintiffs, and also fund the research and development of treatments for addiction and overdoses. According to The New York Times, the Sacklers “would give up ownership of the company and pay $3 billion cash to the plaintiffs over seven years.” Contesters of the agreement argue that the new structure will allow the Sacklers to get out of resolving thousands of lawsuits that will be paid off in part by the continued sale of OxyContin.” ~
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