Company Responsible for Creating OxyContin Files for Bankruptcy

Tyra Hilliard
Staff Writer

Purdue Pharma, creator of the drug OxyContin, recently filed for bankruptcy protection or Chapter 11. The motion came into existence less than a week after reaching a settlement with over 2,00 local governments about the company’s role in leading and maintaining the country’s opioid crisis.

Other points of the settlement that were carried out in New York include the Sackler family’s decision to end their ownership of the company. The family will also provide three billion dollars over a period of many years and future profits from the sale of OxyContin to help rebuild communities that suffered the opioid crisis.

Earlier this month, Purdue Pharma’s board of directors accepted the settlement. Details of the settlement included the 24 state attorneys who joined forces to sue the company because it fueled the addiction crisis this country faced by “aggressively marketing OxyContin while downplaying its potential for addiction.”

“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,” said  Steve Miller, chairman of Purdue’s board of directors in a statement to NPR. “We will continue to work with state attorneys general and other plaintiff representatives to finalize and implement this agreement as quickly as possible.”

According to Purdue, the price tag of the settlement hovers around the $10 billion mark. However, over 24 states opposed that final estimate. The states are attempting to bring the Sackler family into individual state courts in order to gain access to the family’s actual fortune.

New York’s state attorney general Letitia James released a statement hinting at that investigators recovered information detailing the nearly one billion dollars in wire transfers from the Purdue company to bank accounts in Switzerland. The financial movements are said to serve as a shield to protect the wealth of the Sackler family from legal claims.

Purdue Pharma has not failed to state that their products were approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In addition to the numerous prescriptions that were also made by approving doctors as they issued the medicine out to ailing patients. However, the plaintiffs of the case argued that the top officials of the pharmaceutical company downplayed the high risk of becoming addicted to Oxycontin and other drugs, which in turn kicked-off the deadly opioid crisis and national emergency as we now know it.

Miller maintains that the company nor the family has admitted to any lawbreaking on any level as described within the negotiations of the settlements. 

“The resumption of litigation would rapidly diminish all the resources of the company and would be lose-lose-lose all the way around,” said Miller. “Whatever people might wish for is not on the table now.”

The filing of Chapter 11 in order to reorganize under the bankruptcy policy was completely voluntary and was filed by the company and its subsidiaries. 

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