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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, which faced thousands of lawsuits over the U.S. opioid epidemic, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the drug company said in a statement Sunday

The big picture: Per the Wall Street Journal, Purdue filed for bankruptcy with a more than $10 billion plan to settle claims in White Plains, New York — less than a week after reaching a tentative settlement with states and local governments suing the firm for its role in the opioid epidemic.

  • The Justice Department had launched civil and criminal investigations into whether Purdue failed to properly monitor illegal prescribing and ordering patterns for OxyContin.
  • Purdue's board of directors voted Sunday evening to approve a settlement in principle, the New York Times reports.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Bob Herman: Purdue was expected to file for bankruptcy regardless of a national settlement, and it ultimately could protect the Sackler family’s wealth against all governments and creditors.

What they're saying: Steve Miller, chairman of Purdue’s board of directors, said in a statement on the company's website, "This unique framework for a comprehensive resolution 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."

What's next: The bankruptcy "filing is expected to lead to the ultimate demise of a company that sold a fraction of the opioid prescriptions" but is "most closely identified with the epidemic because of its pioneering role in the sale of narcotic pain pills," notes the Washington Post, which first reported the news.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Why fears of a SPAC bubble may be overblown

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The SPAC surge continues unabated, with 10 new ones formed since Wednesday morning. And that's OK.

Between the lines: There are growing concerns that retail investors are about to get rolled, with smart sponsors taking advantage of dumb money.

Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) of going to "ridiculous lengths" to show his opposition to a COVID relief package widely supported by the American public, after Johnson demanded that the entire 600-page bill be read on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Johnson's procedural move will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate, during which Republicans will propose amendments to force uncomfortable votes for Democrats. Schumer promised that the Senate will stay in session "no matter how long it takes" to finish voting on the $1.9 trillion rescue package.