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OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Files for Bankruptcy to Wipe Out 2,000 Lawsuits

Published: September 16, 2019
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Source: bloomberg.com

Purdue Pharma LP filed for bankruptcy with a more than $10 billion plan to settle claims that it fueled the U.S. opioid epidemic by illegally pushing sales of its addictive OxyContin painkiller.

The Chapter 11 filing on Sunday in White Plains, New York, is designed to short-circuit more than 2,000 lawsuits against Purdue and its owners, the billionaire Sackler family. The settlement calls for the Sacklers to hand over Purdue to a trust controlled by the states, cities and counties that have sued to recoup billions of dollars they spent battling opioid addictions and overdoses.

Officials originally envisioned raising as much as $12 billion with the plan, which is backed by more than two dozen U.S. states and territories, along with many cities and counties that sued Purdue. In an emailed statement, Purdue officials reduced the potential settlement amount to more than $10 billion.

The company listed as much as $10 billion in assets, including $1.2 billion in cash, and $1 billion in debts in its Chapter 11 filing. Purdue officials said Sunday the costs of dealing with waves of opioid suits made a bankruptcy inevitable, and the company projected it will spend about $263 million on legal and related professional costs in 2019.

The Sacklers guaranteed they’ll pay a minimum of $3 billion toward the settlement, with most of the sum generated by selling Purdue’s U.K.-based drugmaker Mundipharma.

The family has rejected calls by some state attorneys general to boost their guarantee to $4.5 billion. Of the 48 states that have court actions pending against the company in some forum, half have refused to sign on to the settlement. States that aren’t satisfied with Purdue’s proposal will get a chance to voice their opposition before a bankruptcy judge approves the accord.

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