Purdue aims to end litigation with bankruptcy, but not all states onboard

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Gam1983)
(Image: Getty/Gam1983)

Related tags Opioid Opioid epidemic Purdue Pharma OxyContin Mallinckrodt

Purdue reaches agreement to settle opioid litigation it is facing in the US by pursuing bankruptcy and providing a suggested $10bn towards the opioid crisis.

Purdue Pharma has reached an agreement with 24 state attorneys general, analogous officials from five US territories, and plaintiff’s steering committee that represents ‘thousands of municipalities’, the company stated.

The agreement would see Purdue place all of the company’s assets into a trust or ‘other entity’, with the beneficiaries from this arrangement being claimants and ‘the American people’.

Further than this, the new company would contribute a number of doses, set at the ‘tens of millions’ figure, of opioid overdose reversal and addition treatment medication at no or low cost.

The Sackler family themselves have been subject to lawsuits, as the family owns the company outright but would cede control of the company on the completion of the proposed agreement.

In addition, the Sacklers would pay a minimum of $3bn (€2.71bn) to the settlement agreement. All told, the company suggests​ that the settlement structure could contribute $10bn towards the opioid crisis.

Not all parties satisfied

Despite the company having 29 states and territories accept the terms of the agreement, there are still a number that are holding out against the agreement, including Massachusetts, Washington D.C., and New York.

Previously, New York attorney general, Leititia James, released a statement​ suggesting that filing for bankruptcy was an attempt by the Sackler family “to evade responsibility and lowball the millions of victims of the opioid crisis.”

In response to those states that are withholding support, potentially delaying any deal, the family stated, “We are hopeful that in time, those parties who are not yet supportive will ultimately shift their focus to the critical resources that the settlement provides to people and problems that need them.”

Cases come to a head

This year has seen a number of cases edge towards conclusion, as those companies involved in opioid lawsuits have reached various settlements. Last month, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $572m​ to the state of Oklahoma over its role in opioid crisis.

Last week​, Mallinckrodt reached two settlement agreements to potentially close two cases brought at the federal and state level. At the same time, it was reported that the company was exploring the option to file for bankruptcy.

Mallinckrodt and Purdue are not the only companies to have considered going down the bankruptcy route when faced with litigation. Previously, Insys Therapeutics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy​ amid a number of legal cases and dwindling cash reserves.

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