Monday 16 September 2019 1:57 pm

Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy amid opioid lawsuits

The maker of oxycontin has filed for bankruptcy as it admitted that the company would be unable to withstand over 2,000 lawsuits claiming it helped fuel the US’s addiction to opioids.

The board of Purdue Pharma approved a plan to file for bankruptcy on Sunday night, as it tries to settle the cases.

Read more: Purdue to settle for up to $12bn in opioid lawsuits

Attorneys general from 24 US states and five territories have reached a deal with the company over the lawsuits they filed. Meanwhile, more than 2,000 cities, counties and others will also partake in the deal, Purdue said.

In total it is facing around 2,600 lawsuits.

The company has been painted by its enemies as one of the biggest culprits in the US opioid epidemic which is estimated to have killed nearly 400,000 people between 1999 and 2017, according to the authorities.

The lawsuits differ in nature, but many have claimed that Purdue misled both doctors and patients over the risk of both addiction and overdose, claims that the company denies. They also say that Purdue marketed oxycontin aggressively.

Read more: Johnson & Johnson fined $572m in landmark ruling over opioid crisis

In the settlement the Sackler family, which controls the business, has said it will cede control of Purdue and has offered $3bn in cash, and a further $1.5bn in shares from Mundipharma, a company it owns, sources told Reuters.

“It is our hope the bankruptcy reorganisation process that is now underway will end our ownership of Purdue and ensure its assets are dedicated for the public benefit,” a statement from the Sacklers said.