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How Top Opioid Maker Seeks to Avoid Justice

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

purdue pharma exploring bankruptcy

Story at-a-glance -

  • Facing an estimated 2,000 lawsuits, Purdue Pharma has announced the company is considering filing for bankruptcy protection
  • In an expanded lawsuit against Purdue, the state of New York alleges Purdue has fraudulently transferred funds into trusts and offshore accounts owned by members of the Sackler family to shield assets from litigation
  • The New York complaint, which names eight Sackler members as defendants, seeks to return fraudulently transferred assets to the company to pay for its liabilities
  • The complaint also alleges pharmaceutical distributors colluded with pharmacies to get around monthly opioid distribution limits
  • In March 2018, Purdue Pharma reached a $270 million settlement with Oklahoma, about $122.5 million of which are earmarked for the funding of a drug addiction treatment center at Oklahoma State University that will study opioid addiction and its treatment

In November 2016 then-U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy reported that 78 Americans were dying every day from opioid overdoses — four times as many as in 1999. Requesting a nationwide call to action, Murthy asked the country to shift away from current policies and approach the problem as a clinical or public health issue, rather than a criminal one.

As of June 2017, opioids had become the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50. The following graph by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows the progressive incline in overdose deaths related to opioid pain relievers between 1999 and 2017.


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