Purdue makes new offer to settle role in opioid crisis
Opiods (npr.org)

US drugmaker Purdue Pharma filed a new bankruptcy plan that would see its founders pay an additional $1.5 billion to settle the company's role in the devastating opioid crisis.

The offer made in a restructuring plan filed late on Monday was rejected by two dozen state attorneys general, who said it falls short.

"We are disappointed in this plan. While it contains improvements over the proposal that Purdue announced and we rejected in September 2019, it falls short of the accountability that families and survivors deserve," the state officials said in a joint statement.

Purdue in October pleaded guilty to three criminal charges over its aggressive drive to push sales of the prescription opioid OxyContin, which stoked a nationwide addiction crisis.

Its activities, combined with those of other prescription opioid producers and distributors, fed an epidemic of addiction and overdose. Millions of Americans became dependent on the painkillers while the drugmakers reaped billions of dollars in profits.

According to the restructuring plan, the company would provide $500 million immediately and another $1 billion later, while Purdue's owner the Sackler family would kick in nearly $4.3 billion over the coming decade on top of $225 million already paid to settle Justice Department charges.

The Sackler family would also sell their worldwide pharmaceutical businesses within seven years, according to the filing.

Purdue offered financial and other incentives, including lucrative speaking gigs for doctors, for pumping out more prescriptions of the company's drugs and downplaying the addictive nature of the medication widely used for pain.

More than 500,000 Americans have died of opioid overdoses -- both prescription and non-prescription -- since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.