The Sacklers, a billionaire family accused of fueling the nationwide opioid crisis by marketing and misleading doctors and patients regarding the dangers of OxyContin, may now be struggling to keep their business. Purdue is now considering to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection against potential liabilities from thousands of lawsuits alleging the drug manufacturer contributed to the opioid crisis, according to a Reuters report.
“As a privately-held company, it has been Purdue Pharma’s longstanding policy not to comment on our financial or legal strategy,” Purdue said in a statement. “We are, however, committed to ensuring that our business remains strong and sustainable. We have ample liquidity and remain committed to meeting our obligations to the patients who benefit from our medicines, our suppliers and other business partners.”
Purdue and other manufacturers will face a trial in May, for a case brought by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. The Stamford, Connecticut-based company is accused of downplaying the addiction risk while overemphasizing the benefits of opioids. The company is also accused of urging sales representatives to advise doctors to prescribe the highest dosage as it was more profitable.
Purdue denies any wrongdoing, claiming that its painkiller labels have warnings about the risk of abuse and misuse associated with the drugs.
OxyContin is a prescription drug used to help relieve severe ongoing pain. However, there are also many risks that come from opioids, including addiction. From 1999 to 2017, nearly 218,000 people have died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In late 2017, Purdue launched an advertising campaign, which CNBC reports was meant to “show it is doing its part to stem the epidemic.” The ads appeared in several national and public newspapers, emphasizing that the company is a “research-driven, science-based” entity and is committed to finding safer, new pain medications.