Perdue Pharma is a privately held pharmaceutical company that was founded in 1892 and has recently entered the media spotlight due to the controversy surrounding the production and sales of their flagship pain-management product: OxyContin. Oxycodone, the active drug in OxyContin, was invented in Germany in 1916 and has been used for medical procedures for the past 100 years. More recently, Perdue Pharma began to aggressively market OxyContin as a painkiller in 1995, which many believe to have contributed to the modern opioid crisis.
OxyContin is an opioid medication that is used as a pain management drug. When Perdue Pharma released the product in 1995, they touted it as a non-addictive delivery method for opioids, which are its main ingredients. That claim and the marketing practices that were used to create an estimated $35 billion in revenue from the drug are now coming under fire for deceptive advertising and willfully hiding the harmful nature of a product.
Perdue Pharma recently settled a case in Oklahoma where plaintiffs contended the company was well aware of the drugs’ potential to lead to addiction. Purdue has been accused of resorting to “aggressive and deceptive marketing” in promoting its painkillers to doctors and the general public, a claim the company has denied.
In the quagmire of legal and financial difficulties surrounding this controversy, Purdue Pharma settled with the state of Oklahoma to avoid a televised courtroom trial. Purdue is currently facing more than 1,600 lawsuits stemming from aggressive marketing of the drug OxyContin.
Recently the state of New York laid out one of the most detailed and sweeping legal cases against the family that owns Purdue Pharma to date. This lawsuit does not stop with Perdue Pharma, but also implicates other companies that distributed alarming amounts of prescription painkillers amid a rising epidemic of abuse that has killed hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.
More than 200,000 people have died in the United States from overdoses involving prescription opioids in the past 2 decades according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New York State alone, prescriptions for opioids increased ninefold between 2000 and 2011. According to the lawsuit filed by New York State, opioid-related deaths have more than doubled since 2013, which means that 9 New Yorkers die each day because of prescription opioids.
While it’s not certain that Purdue will declare bankruptcy, things are certainly pointing in that direction. Last year, the company hired a law firm for restructuring advice and introduced a new restructuring expert on the board. Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing has the possibility to freeze the pending litigation— known as an automatic stay. If this were the case, the claims would likely be transferred to a bankruptcy court.
While some lawsuits are making their way through state courts, most have been consolidated into what’s called multi-district litigation (MDL) in federal court. Parts of the litigation could be put on hold, while others would be allowed to proceed. Purdue is just one of the many defendants in the MDL, as similar allegations have been raised against other pharmaceutical companies. Given how complicated the case is, it could take quite a long time to be resolved.
In cases like these, plaintiffs, dealing with the effects of addiction and chronic pain are often unable to work or carry out their normal routines. In the face of mounting medical bills and lost wages, they may be tempted to settle for less than they deserve because they cannot afford to wait for a fair settlement.
Pre-settlement funding helps you cover living expenses and other bills while your case plays out in court. Pre-settlement funding is not a loan. You only have to repay it if the case concludes or is settled in your favor. LawCash is a litigation financing company that provides pre-settlement funding to injured plaintiffs awaiting the resolution of their cases and also awards settled-case funding.