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US states claim Purdue Pharma owes $2.2 trillion over opioid crisis

Company faces new accusations of dishonest marketing tactics

New filings made by a number of US states claim that Purdue Pharma, the now infamous maker of OxyContin, owes $2.2 trillion for its role in fuelling the opioid crisis in the country.

According to the new filings, made by 49 states in the US, Purdue pushed prescription painkillers on doctors and patients while knowingly minimising the harmful side effects of the drugs.

Last year, Purdue filed for bankruptcy following increasing blame for its part in driving the opioid epidemic in the US. The company made vast profits from its prescription painkiller OxyContin, which has since become one of the focal drugs of the health crisis.

Purdue, which is privately owned by the Sackler family, is facing new allegations for its contribution to the crisis which has caused the deaths of around 450,000 people over the last 20 years. This includes accusations of dishonest marketing and violations of the US Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

According to Reuters, Purdue is worth just over $2bn if liquidated, and a proposal to settle the litigation has been valued by the company at over $10bn.

As part of of the initial bankruptcy filing, the Sackler family said they will give up 100% of Purdue and will also contribute a minimum of $3bn from the sales of their ex-US pharma businesses.

“The proposed settlement would deliver more than $10bn in value, including 100% of Purdue’s assets, to claimants and communities, and would address the opioid crisis by providing needed funds, as well as millions of doses of lifesaving opioid addiction treatment and overdose reversal medicines,” Purdue said in a statement.

However, the states and other litigants seeking damages from Purdue have opposed the settlement offer, with the parties insisting the Sacklers reveal more details about their finances.

The states say the cost of the damages includes money for addiction treatment and health care, as well as lost revenue for business and child welfare and lost economic input of victims of the opioid health crisis.

“This financial toll only accounts for a sliver of the damage inflicted on the American people,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

“The millions of families that have suffered as the result of addiction, ailments and death can never be repaid for their losses,” she added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

18th August 2020

From: Regulatory

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