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US States Agree to Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Plan

July 8, 2021
Ten states still oppose Purdue's proposals, which would see the pharmaceutical firm pay $4.3 billion to settle opioid-crisis related charges.

Fifteen U.S. states have dropped their opposition to a bankruptcy plan for OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, which is accused of triggering America's opioid crisis, court documents show.

The agreement is a step towards the pharmaceutical firm paying $4.3 billion to settle cases related to the crisis, which has caused more than 500,000 overdose deaths in the United States over the past 20 years.

A mediator's report filed in a New York state bankruptcy court late Wednesday announced that the states had reached an agreement with Purdue Pharma that would see its owners, the Sackler family, provide an additional $50 million.

Under the terms of the deal, Purdue will also make public tens of millions of documents, including exchanges with its lawyers that have so far remained confidential.

The states include New York and Massachusetts which have been aggressively pursuing the company.

Purdue Pharma agreed in October 2020 to plead guilty to criminal charges relating to its aggressive promotion of OxyContin, a painkiller it knew to be addictive, as part of a deal with the US Justice Department worth $8.3 billion.

The charges included defrauding federal health agencies and of paying illegal kickbacks to doctors.

The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2019, saying it would restructure and help tackle addiction.

Ten states, including California, still oppose the proposals of Purdue and the Sacklers.

The opioid crisis, which has ravaged communities across the United States, has triggered a mountain of litigation in the country.

A host of civil and criminal charges have been launched, targeting pharmaceutical firms, distributors, wholesalers, pharmacies and doctors, with some of those cases resulting in negotiated settlements for heavy damages. 

Copyright 2021, Agence France-Presse

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