OxyContin Maker Expected To File for Bankruptcy

By Kelly Burch 09/10/19

Purdue Pharma is expected to file for bankruptcy protection as the company reportedly failed to settle thousands of opioid lawsuits against them.

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The future of Purdue Pharma is to be determined. ID 83510092 © Pureradiancephoto | Dreamstime.com

After years of reaping massive profits from allegedly deceptive marketing practices around its opioid painkillers, Purdue Pharma is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy soon, since negotiations to reach a settlement in the scores of lawsuits against the company have failed. 

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein updated attorneys general around the country over the weekend, and their letter was obtained by the Associated Press

“As a result, the negotiations are at an impasse, and we expect Purdue to file for bankruptcy protection imminently,” Slatery and Stein wrote. 

A spokesperson for Purdue responded, “Purdue declines to comment on that in its entirety.” In March, Reuters first reported that Purdue was exploring bankruptcy, although there was no official word from the company. 

Filing for Bankruptcy

If Purdue Pharma does make a move to file for bankruptcy, it would complicate more than 2,000 lawsuits that municipalities and states around the country have filed against the company. It would almost certainly mean that Purdue would not be part of the opioid lawsuit taking place in federal court Ohio. The first trial in that batch is expected to start next month. 

One speculation is that a bankruptcy payout from Purdue could be worth $10 to $12 billion over time, but others say that the payout could be as little as $1 billion, which is small considering the amount of lawsuits against the company.

Seeking Damages

Attorneys vowed that they would continue to seek damages from the company. 

“Like you, we plan to continue our work to ensure that the Sacklers, Purdue and other drug companies pay for drug addiction treatment and other remedies to help clean up the mess we allege they created,” Slatery and Stein wrote in their letter. 

In some cases, states are personally suing the Sackler family, which has reportedly pulled billions of dollars out of Purdue and moved that personal wealth offshore. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is among those who plans to sue the Sackler family. 

“I think they are a group of sanctimonious billionaires who lied and cheated so they could make a handsome profit,” he said. “I truly believe that they have blood on their hands.”

Shapiro took to Twitter Saturday to emphasize his point. 

“The Sacklers pioneered our #OpioidEpidemic,” he wrote. “They have blood on their hands. And on behalf of PA'ns, I will sue them personally, so that we can dig into their personal pockets & retrieve some of the money they made. We need this for treatment and other life saving efforts.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.