Massachusetts, New York Signal Purdue Faces Stiff Court Fight

By | September 17, 2019

The attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York gave Purdue Pharma LP a preview of the opposition it’s facing in bankruptcy court as the embattled maker of the OxyContin painkiller seeks approval of a roughly $10 billion settlement stemming from the opioid crisis it helped start.

Maura Healey, who sued Purdue and its board members last year, said Monday she’ll soon file an objection in bankruptcy court challenging the proposed settlement with 24 states, five U.S. territories and law firms representing more than 1,000 counties, cities and Native American tribes. Several other states, including New York and California, also slammed the deal.

At a press conference Monday in Boston, Healey said the proposal fails to make Purdue’s billionaire owners, the Sackler family, turn over opioid profits that she says they transferred overseas after “sucking the life out of Purdue.” She also criticized the way Purdue plans to pay for the accord.

“This settlement is to be funded by continued and future sales of OxyContin here and abroad – I reject that,” she said. “Every day people in this country are dying as a result of opioids. Fundamentally I don’t look at that as doing good or being part of the solution.”

Healey has also argued that a proper settlement would include making public millions of pages of documents – including emails, business plans and board minutes – that she says Purdue and the Sacklers have fought for years to keep secret. The current settlement lacks that transparency, she said Monday.

Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, was also critical of the plan and vowed to continue her lawsuit against Purdue and the Sacklers in state court.

“Any deal that cheats Americans out of billions of dollars, allows the Sacklers to evade responsibility, and lets this family continue peddling their drugs to the world is a bad one, which is why New York remains opposed to it,” James said in a statement.

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