MONDAY, Sept. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, touching off what could be a fierce battle by dozens of states hoping to recoup billions spent fighting the opioid crisis.
As reported by The New York Times, there are more than 2,600 pending federal and state lawsuits lodged against Purdue, and the pharmaceutical giant has proposed a resolution to most of them as part of its bankruptcy filing. The move was approved Sunday night by Purdue's board of directors.
In a statement, Purdue Chairman Steve Miller said the company's proposed settlement "will dedicate all of the assets and resources of Purdue for the benefit of the American public. This settlement framework avoids wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years on protracted litigation, and instead will provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis." Purdue hopes to restructure following bankruptcy and in the process trigger an automatic halt to civil litigation against it over the opioid epidemic, the Times said.
In its filing, Purdue claims the company is valued at $10 billion. However, states opposed to the plan say that number is speculative and could take years to realize. And they add that the Sacklers still plan to run another pharmaceutical business, a British company called Mundipharma, until it is sold off. Finally, the states contend that settling the lawsuits through the continued sale of Oxycontin helps the Sackler family itself avoid any monetary penalty.