Oxycontin maker Purdue begins bankruptcy in push to settle opioid lawsuits

By Tom Hals and Nate Raymond (Reuters) - Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma LP on Tuesday told a bankruptcy judge it hopes to broaden support for a proposed settlement of 2,600 lawsuits alleging it fuelled the U.S. opioid crisis, but opponents of the deal highlighted looming legal battles. A lawyer representing the company told U.S.

Reuters September 18, 2019 02:09:26 IST
Oxycontin maker Purdue begins bankruptcy in push to settle opioid lawsuits

Oxycontin maker Purdue begins bankruptcy in push to settle opioid lawsuits

By Tom Hals and Nate Raymond

(Reuters) - Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma LP on Tuesday told a bankruptcy judge it hopes to broaden support for a proposed settlement of 2,600 lawsuits alleging it fuelled the U.S. opioid crisis, but opponents of the deal highlighted looming legal battles.

A lawyer representing the company told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in White Plains, New York that the case was an opportunity to end a "chaotic maelstrom" of litigation.

Purdue filed for bankruptcy on Sunday after reaching an outline of a deal with states and local governments that have accused the company of deceptively marketing opioids by overstating benefits and downplaying risks.

It has been accused of contributing to a public health crisis that has led to nearly 400,000 overdose deaths between 1999 and 2017, according to the latest U.S. data.

The settlement, which Purdue estimates is worth more than $10 billion, would require the Sackler family to cede ownership of Purdue to a trust controlled by the plaintiffs that are suing it. In addition to turning over Purdue, the Sacklers would sell their non-U.S. pharmaceutical businesses and also contribute at least $3 billion of their own money.

“Purdue is not shielding itself from these claimants. It is giving itself to these claimants without them even having to prevail in the litigation,” Marshall Huebner, a Davis, Polk & Wardwell lawyer representing Purdue, told the court.

Numerous states oppose the plan, including New York. A lawyer for the state told Drain that the proposed deal did not address how settlement funds will be allocated among governments. He also said settling states did not appear as interested in conducting thorough investigations of Purdue.

"We have different views and different experiences in terms of our aggressive pursuit of some issues, including payments to the Sacklers," said David Nachman, who leads the New York's opioid litigation.

On Friday, New York Attorney General Letitia James said she uncovered roughly $1 billion in wire transfers "between the Sacklers, entities they control and different financial institutions, including those that have funnelled funds into Swiss bank accounts."

A spokesman for former Purdue board member Mortimer D.A. Sackler said in a statement that the transfers were legal and appropriate, and accused James of using the transfers to try to undermine the settlement.

Huebner acknowledged that Purdue faces several battles, including over whether a bankruptcy filing pauses government investigations and lawsuits.

“I remain hopeful that parties may be more willing to settle as they learn more about facts and numbers they didn’t previously know,” said Huebner during the three-hour hearing.

Purdue is the second drug company to seek bankruptcy over the opioid crisis. Insys Therapeutics Inc filed for bankruptcy in June, also citing opioid litigation.

The Chandler, Arizona-based drugmaker, which recently agreed to sell its flagship fentanyl spray Subsys, on Tuesday unveiled a liquidation plan to repay its creditors, including states and localities that have sued. The plan did not spell out how much state and local governments would recover, but said they would not be paid in full.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware, Nate Raymond in Boston and Mike Spector in New York.; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Bill Berkrot)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones
Business

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones

By Stephen Nellis (Reuters) -Apple Inc on Monday said it will offer the ability to store state-issued identification cards digitally on iPhones and that it is working with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to accept the digital IDs at airports, one of several updates to the software that runs on its devices. It also showed updates to its FaceTime video chat app, adding the ability to schedule calls with multiple attendees and making the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions
Business

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions

LONDON (Reuters) - The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries' governments to relax COVID-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries. After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines, IAG unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely. The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S.

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options
Business

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's patience towards Britain over Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland is wearing thin and the bloc will consider its options should Britain continue its "confrontational path", an EU official said on Monday.