Perdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company who manufactures the painkiller OxyContin, is considering filing for bankruptcy due to the thousands of opioid related lawsuits it is facing.
Perdue is no stranger to controversy. In 2007, the company was ordered to pay more than $600 million in fines for misleading doctors, regulators and patients about OxyContin’s risk of addiction. In addition to Perdue paying out $600 million, three of the company’s executives were ordered to pay out $34.5 million in fines for misbranding.
Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a tactic used by corporations to protect themselves from the ramifications of their actions. If Perdue Pharma decides to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it would be permitted to reorganize business affairs, debts, and assets, allowing the opioid lawsuits filed against Perdue to be settled by a bankruptcy judge.
By filing for Chapter 11, Perdue would be able to significantly reduce the restitution victims would receive if the opioid cases were to be taken in front of a jury and would allow Purdue to pay out plaintiffs over a longer period of time.
The Opioid Crisis in America
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, each day more than 130 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose. Opioids are a class of drug that includes heroin and prescription pain relievers like OxyContin, Vicodin and Codeine. These drugs interact with opioid receptors in our bodies and provide pain relief and euphoria. Because of their ability to reduce pain and provide feelings of euphoria, opioids are highly addictive.
In the late 1990’s opioids began being prescribed for chronic pain due to aggressive marketing campaigns by opioid manufacturers and distributors. These marketing campaigns assured the medical community that opioids were not highly addictive, provided false information about the benefits of long-term opioid use and overstated the benefits of opioid usage for chronic pain. This scheme made pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars and made opioids the most commonly prescribed medication in the United States.
Since 1990, there has been a 450% increase in opioid prescription sales without an overall change in reported pain. In 2016, there were over 300,000,000 prescriptions for opioids in the United States and opioid overdose deaths were higher than the number of Americans that died in the Vietnam war. The opioid manufacturers and distributors plan made them billions of dollars but caused a public health emergency and ruined the lives of millions of people.
Opioid Civil Action Lawsuits
Many states, cities and counties have filed civil action lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors to protect the health, safety and welfare of their citizens. These lawsuits are seeking damages for increases in spending on public safety, addiction treatment and medical care.
As an example, Eglet Prince, a successful and well-respected Las Vegas personal injury law firm is taking on Perdue Pharma and other opioid manufacturers in an attempt to recoup the costs of saving peoples lives from opioid use and overuse in Nevada.
Thanks to our friends from Eglet Prince for their insight into the opioid crisis.