clearn.png
Sunday September 22nd, 2019 8:48PM

Opioid talks at impasse; Purdue bankruptcy filing expected

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CLEVELAND (AP) — OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is expected to file for bankruptcy after settlement talks over the nation's deadly overdose crisis hit an impasse, attorneys general involved in the talks said Saturday in a message to their counterparts across the country.

The breakdown puts the first federal trial over the opioid epidemic on track to begin next month and sets the stage for a complex legal drama involving nearly every state and hundreds of local governments.

Purdue, the family that owns the company and a group of state attorneys general had been trying for months to find a way to avoid trial and determine Purdue's responsibility for a crisis that has cost 400,000 American lives over the past two decades.

The email from the attorneys general of Tennessee and North Carolina, obtained by The Associated Press, said that Purdue and the Sackler family had rejected two offers from the states over how payments under any settlement would be handled and that the family declined to offer counterproposals.

"As a result, the negotiations are at an impasse, and we expect Purdue to file for bankruptcy protection imminently," Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein wrote in their message, which was sent to update attorneys general throughout the country on the status of the talks.

Purdue spokeswoman Josephine Martin said, "Purdue declines to comment on that in its entirety."

A failure in negotiations sets up one of the most tangled bankruptcy cases in the nation's history. It would leave virtually every state and some 2,000 local governments that have sued Purdue to battle it out in bankruptcy court for the company's remaining assets. Purdue threatened to file for bankruptcy earlier this year and was holding off while negotiations continued.

It's not entirely clear what a breakdown in settlement talks with Purdue means for the Sackler family, which is being sued separately by at least 17 states.

Those lawsuits are likely to continue but face a significant hurdle because it's believed the family — major donors to museums and other cultural institutions around the world — has transferred most of its multibillion-dollar fortune overseas.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who was one of the four state attorneys general negotiating with Purdue and the Sacklers, said Saturday he intends to sue the Sackler family, as other states have.

"I think they are a group of sanctimonious billionaires who lied and cheated so they could make a handsome profit," he said. "I truly believe that they have blood on their hands."

In March, Purdue and members of the Sackler family reached a $270 million settlement with Oklahoma to avoid a trial on the toll of opioids there. The Sacklers could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday.

Under one earlier proposed settlement, Purdue would enter a structured bankruptcy that could be worth $10 billion to $12 billion over time. Included in the total would be $3 billion from the Sackler family, which would give up its control of Purdue and contribute up to $1.5 billion more by selling another company it owns, Cambridge, England-based Mundipharma.

Shapiro said the attorneys general believed what Purdue and the Sacklers were offering would not have been worth the reported $10 billion to $12 billion.

In their latest offers, the states also sought more assurances that the $4.5 billion from the Sacklers would actually be paid, according to the message circulated Saturday: "The Sacklers refused to budge."

In their message, Tennessee's Slatery and North Carolina's Stein said the states have already begun preparations for handling bankruptcy proceedings.

"Like you, we plan to continue our work to ensure that the Sacklers, Purdue and other drug companies pay for drug addiction treatment and other remedies to help clean up the mess we allege they created," they wrote.

The nearly 2,000 lawsuits filed by city and county governments — as well as unions, hospitals, Native American tribes and lawyers representing babies who were born in opioid withdrawal — have been consolidated under a single federal judge in Cleveland.

Most of those lawsuits also name other opioid makers, distributors and pharmacies in addition to Purdue, some of which have been pursuing their own settlements.

Purdue also faces hundreds of other lawsuits filed in state courts and had sought a wide-ranging deal to settle all cases against it.

The company has been the most popular target of state and local governments because of its OxyContin, the prescription painkiller many of the government claims point to as the drug that gave rise to the opioid epidemic. The lawsuits claim the company aggressively sold OxyContin and marketed it as a drug with a low risk of addiction despite knowing that wasn't true.

The impasse in the talks comes about six weeks before the scheduled start of the first federal trial under the Cleveland litigation, overseen by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster. That trial will hear claims about the toll the opioid epidemic has taken on two Ohio counties, Cuyahoga and Summit.

A bankruptcy filing by Purdue would most certainly remove the company from that trial.

The bankruptcy judge would have wide discretion on how to proceed. That could include allowing the claims against other drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies to move ahead while Purdue's cases are handled separately. Three other manufacturers have already settled with the two Ohio counties to avoid the initial trial.

___

Mulvihill reported from New Jersey.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Opioid talks at impasse; Purdue bankruptcy filing expected
Attempts to reach a nationwide settlement over the opioid crisis with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma have hit an impasse, and the company is expected to file for bankruptcy
5:24PM ( 9 minutes ago )
SC, Kansas GOP scrap 2020 presidential preference votes
Republican leaders in South Carolina and Kansas have voted to scrap their presidential nominating contests in 2020, while party officials Nevada are deciding whether to follow suit
5:12PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Falcons' Julio Jones agrees to 3-year, $66 million extension
Falcons receiver Julio Jones get long-awaited extension, agreeing to 3-year, $66 million deal
5:11PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Dorian leaves North Carolina behind, aims wrath at Canada
Dorian turns north and begins lashing parts of eastern Canada
4:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
Director of MIT's Media Lab steps down over Epstein ties
The director of a prestigious research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has resigned following uproar over his financial ties with Jeffrey Epstein
4:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
NOAA assailed for defending Trump's Hurricane Dorian claim
Former top officials of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are assailing the agency for undermining its weather forecasters as it defends President Donald Trump's claim that Hurricane Dorian had threatened Alabama
3:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
SC GOP scraps 2020 presidential primary; others may follow
Republican leaders in South Carolina have voted to scrap their presidential primary in 2020, while party officials in Kansas and Nevada are deciding later Saturday whether to follow suit with their nominating contests
12:17PM ( 5 hours ago )
'Hour of darkness' for Bahamas; 43 dead, with toll to rise
Bahamas officials say search and rescue teams are still trying to reach some communities isolated by flood waters and debris after Hurricane Dorian. The official death toll has risen to 43.
11:57AM ( 5 hours ago )
State Republican parties mull canceling primaries, caucuses
Republicans in South Carolina, Kansas and Nevada have scheduled meetings Saturday to decide whether to scrap presidential preference contests before the 2020 election
11:03AM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Oh how sweet it isn't: Navajo president bans candy at parade
Oh how sweet it isn't: Navajo president bans candy at parade but legal opinion sours the move
4:35PM ( 1 day ago )
US health officials report new vaping deaths, repeat warning
U.S. health officials are again urging people to stop vaping until they figure out why some are coming down with serious breathing illnesses
4:33PM ( 1 day ago )
US tells migrant woman 8 months pregnant to wait in Mexico
U.S. border agents took a Salvadoran woman who was eight months pregnant to the hospital when she suffered premature contractions, then forced her to leave the country under the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" policy
2:50PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Health
Greece must restore its credibility, new prime minister says
Greece's new Prime Minister says success in implementing reforms - reducing taxes, fighting bureaucracy and attracting investment - must be achieved before the country asks its creditors to agree to lower budget surpluses.
4:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Approaching Canada, Dorian downgraded to Cat 1
Canadian officials now have Hurricane Dorian as a Category 1 storm
4:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
Duke probe finds no evidence Nike paid Zion Williamson
Duke says investigation found no evidence former basketball star Zion Williamson received improper benefits
3:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Mayor charged with taking bribes to help pot businesses
Federal authorities say a Massachusetts mayor has been arrested on charges he conspired to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies seeking to operate marijuana businesses
6:42PM ( 22 hours ago )
Reaching a deal in national opioids case proving difficult
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma says it wants a nationwide settlement over its role in the opioids crisis, but it's proving difficult to reach a deal
5:09PM ( 1 day ago )
Ex-drug company CEO Martin Shkreli sues former investor
The former drug company executive known as Pharma Bro has sued the son of one of his investors over losses from a failed hedge fund
5:02PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
SC, Kansas GOP scrap 2020 presidential preference votes
Republican leaders in South Carolina and Kansas have voted to scrap their presidential nominating contests in 2020, while party officials Nevada are deciding whether to follow suit
5:12PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Falcons' Julio Jones agrees to 3-year, $66 million extension
Falcons receiver Julio Jones get long-awaited extension, agreeing to 3-year, $66 million deal
5:11PM ( 22 minutes ago )
The Latest: Crane collapses in Canada as Dorian roars
A large construction crane in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has toppled over onto a building under construction as Dorian approaches
5:09PM ( 24 minutes ago )
In new blow, Cabinet minister quits Boris Johnson government
A British Cabinet minister has quit Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, saying she disagrees with his Brexit strategy
4:47PM ( 47 minutes ago )
The Latest: US Open singer cheered for changing song lyric
The Latest: Serena Williams playing in the U.S. Open women's final inspired a performer to change the lyrics to 'America The Beautiful' _ and the crowd loved it.
4:45PM ( 49 minutes ago )