Facing more than 1,000 lawsuits, Purdue Pharma is exploring filing for bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter told Reuters Monday.
Purdue Pharma makes OxyContin, and the lawsuits allege the company was a major contributor to the nation's opioid crisis by not being up front with doctors and patients about long-term use of the powerful drug. Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy would halt those suits, Reuters reports, and Purdue could negotiate with plaintiffs under the supervision of a bankruptcy judge. People with knowledge of the matter said no final decision has been made, and Purdue could decide to continue to fight the lawsuits instead.
Owned by the Sackler family, Purdue denies any wrongdoing and says it placed warning labels approved by the Food and Drug Administration on its bottles, notifying users about the risk of misusing the product. Last June, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) sued Purdue and members of the Sackler family, claiming that while they amassed a fortune of $4.2 billion, they were knowingly misleading the public through deceptive marketing.
OxyContin sales have dropped to $1.74 billion in 2017 from $2.6 billion in 2012, Symphony Health Solutions reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that in 2017, opioids contributed to 47,600 overdose deaths in the United States.