Purdue expected to file for bankruptcy as settlement talks break down: state AGs

Talks between a leading opioid producer and a group of state attorneys general have broken down, meaning Purdue Pharma is expected to be heading toward bankruptcy.

Earlier this month, the Sackler family-owned pharmaceutical company offered between $10 billion and $12 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits claiming the firm used deceptive sales practices to push the painkiller OxyContin.

But Purdue and the state attorneys general have been unable to come to an agreement on a settlement, two officials said.

"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 an email obtained by the Associated Press.

Bankruptcy 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.

A bottle of prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D. sit on a counter at a local pharmacy, in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey

Purdue provided the following comment.to FOX Business.

“Purdue Pharma believes a settlement that benefits the American public now is a far better path than years of wasteful litigation and appeals.  While the company is prepared to defend itself vigorously in the opioid litigation, Purdue has made clear that it prefers a constructive global resolution.  We have been actively working with numerous state attorneys general and other plaintiffs on solutions that have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives and deliver billions of dollars to the communities affected by the opioid abuse crisis.  Those negotiations continue and we remain dedicated to a resolution that genuinely advances the public interest.”

Opioid overdoses kill more than 130 people per day, and opioid misuse costs the U.S. $78.5 billion per year, according to the U.S. government.

Last month, an Oklahoma judge found Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies liable for stoking the opioid crisis in the state and said the company must pay $572 million. Johnson & Johnson denies any liability and says it plans to appeal the ruling.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.