US PURSUES NEARLY $13-B CLAIMS IN PURDUE PHARMA OPIOID PROBES
US prosecutors are pursuing possible penalties of nearly $13 billion to resolve investigations of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma after uncovering evidence of criminal and civil misconduct stemming from the company’s alleged role in fueling the nation’s opioid crisis, people familiar with the matter told Mike Spector of Reuters late on August 4, 2020.
Justice Department officials outlined additional details of their ongoing investigations of the company, controlled by the wealthy Sackler family, in paperwork filed last week with a federal bankruptcy court in White Plains, N.Y., which has not yet become public, the people said.
As with other Purdue creditors, the Justice Department had to meet a July 30 deadline to assert financial claims against the company. The initial claims seek about $10 billion in criminal penalties, consisting of a fine exceeding $6 billion and a forfeiture of more than $3 billion, as well as a civil penalty of nearly $3 billion, one of the people said.
The size of the claims represents the upper limit of penalties federal prosecutors might seek, and the ultimate sums paid to resolve the investigations are likely to be far lower, the people said. The Justice Department is among thousands of creditors vying to extract money from Purdue, which has a liquidation value of only a bit more than $2 billion. Purdue has offered to settle widespread opioid litigation in a deal it values at more than $10 billion. That includes $3 billion from the Sacklers and value derived from the Stamford, Connecticut-based firm transforming into a public benefit company run on behalf of plaintiffs that would donate addiction treatment drugs and opioid overdose-reversal medications under development.