(Reuters) – US states that they owe $ 2.2 trillion in handling damages from OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma LP's alleged role in the US opioid epidemic and accused the drug manufacturer in new applications to operate prescription painkillers on doctors and patients while playing down the risks of abuse and overdose.
In applications made as part of Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings revealed on Monday, states said that Purdue, with the support of the wealthy Sackler family, contributed to a public health crisis that has claimed the lives of some 450,000 people since 1999 and caused burdens. on healthcare and criminal justice systems. The records cited more than 200,000 deaths in the United States that were directly linked to prescription opioids between 1
In large states such as California and New York, claims alone amounted to more than $ 192 billion and $ 165 billion, respectively. Forty-nine U.S. States, Washington, D.C. and different territories claim. Oklahoma settled disputes with Purdue last year.
Purdue filed for bankruptcy in 2019 under pressure from more than 2,600 lawsuits filed by cities, counties, states, Native American tribes, hospitals and others. The lawsuits said the company, and in some cases Sacklers, used misleading marketing and took other wrong measures to flood communities with prescription opioids.
The company and family have denied the allegations and promised to help combat the opioid epidemic, including those that provide drug treatment and drug overdose under development.
In response to government allegations, Purdue said it continues to work to resolve disputes and get out of bankruptcy, and that it is typical for claims from various creditors to "submit amounts significantly greater than what is ultimately allowed. by the court.
Sackler's representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Purdue and Sacklers have pointed to fentanyl and heroin as more significant obligations in the opioid crisis. In their applications, however, states pointed to the National Institute on Drug Abuse Research, which estimated that about 80% of heroin addicts had previously taken prescription opioids.
In addition to state claims, Purdue is facing claims in excess of $ 18 billion from the U.S. Justice Department due to potential penalties resulting from criminal and civil investigations.
In applications related to Purdue's bankruptcy case, federal prosecutors said that Purdue contributed to false claims being made to federal health insurance programs by having doctors prescribe medically unnecessary opioid prescriptions that were sometimes bothered by illegal kickbacks, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Justice Department also claims possible penalties due to allegations that Purdue violated the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and violations of federal conspiracy and anti-kickback laws, the person said.
The Department of Justice has declined to comment
Claims by state and federal prosecutors are being processed after being filed just before a July 30 deadline set by a U.S. bankruptcy judge. While they will collectively exceed billions of dollars, the applications are in many cases placeholders contrary to roadmaps for how much money Purdue will eventually pay its creditors, the majority of which are US, state and local governments.
Purdue is only worth a little over $ 2 billion if it is liquidated. The company values a proposal to resolve disputes, which include the provision of drugs and overdose, at more than $ 10 billion. Sacklers would contribute $ 3 billion and relinquish control of Purdue, where the company would become a trust course on behalf of the plaintiff.
These financial realities underscore that Purdue does not have enough money to satisfy the myriad claims against it.
and other disputes are in talks to decide how to distribute income from Purdue's bankruptcy estate as part of the company's attempt to reorganize. Many states, including Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut, have opposed Purdue's settlement offer, insisting that Sacklers contribute more money and reveal more information about their finances.