Sep 16, 2019

Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy

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.

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