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US STATES SEEK $2.2T FROM OXYCONTIN MAKER PURDUE PHARMA

US states claimed they are owed $2.2 trillion to address harm from OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP’s alleged role in America’s opioid epidemic, accusing the drugmaker in new filings of pushing prescription painkillers on doctors and patients while playing down the risks of abuse and overdose, Mike Spector wrote for Reuters late on August 19, 2020.

In filings made as part of Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings that were disclosed on Monday, the states said Purdue, backed by the wealthy Sackler family, contributed to a public health crisis that has claimed the lives of roughly 450,000 people since 1999 and caused strains on healthcare and criminal justice systems. The filings cited more than 200,000 deaths in the US tied directly to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2016.


In large states such as California and New York, claims alone totaled more than $192 billion and $165 billion, respectively. Forty-nine US states, Washington, D.C. and various territories are making the claims. Oklahoma settled litigation with Purdue last year.


Purdue filed for bankruptcy in 2019 under pressure from more than 2,600 lawsuits brought by cities, counties, states, Native American tribes, hospitals and others. The lawsuits said the company, and in some cases the Sacklers, used deceptive marketing and took other improper steps to flood communities with prescription opioids.


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