OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is insisting that it is continuing its efforts to settle the more than 2,000 lawsuits it is facing over its marketing of opioids.
The news comes in the wake of reports over the weekend that two attorneys general – Herbert Slatery, R-Tenn., and Josh Stein, D-N.C. – emailed their colleagues that negotiations with the Stamford drugmaker were stalled and that they “expect Purdue to file for bankruptcy protection imminently.”
In a statement issued Sunday night that pointedly did not mention any efforts at filing for bankruptcy, Purdue said: “We have been actively working with numerous state attorneys general and other plaintiffs on solutions that have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives and deliver billions of dollars to the communities affected by the opioid abuse crisis.
“Those negotiations continue,” the company stated, “and we remain dedicated to a resolution that genuinely advances the public interest.”
In March, Purdue settled Oklahoma’s lawsuit for $270 million, but it still faces a mountain of others from a variety of state, local and tribal governments.
The first federal trial on opioids, against Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, is scheduled to begin next month; that drugmaker – based in Ireland, with North American headquarters in St. Louis – announced on Sept. 6 that it had agreed to pay $24 million to a pair of Ohio counties to settle lawsuits.
Late last month came word that Purdue and its owners, the Sackler family, were reportedly offering to settle the 2,000-plus lawsuits they are facing for $10 billion to $12 billion. More recently the possibility has been raised of the Stamford firm and/or the Sacklers filing for bankruptcy.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong vowed yesterday to press on with the Nutmeg state’s legal action regardless of Purdue’s moves.
“We will continue to go after them, whether in Superior Court in Connecticut or in bankruptcy court in another jurisdiction,” Tong said in a statement. “It will not change how aggressive we are going to be.”