Purdue Pharma, Sacklers ask judge to freeze lawsuits against company

Purdue Pharma, the Sackler-family owned maker of the opioid OxyContin, has asked a bankruptcy judge to temporarily suspend the more than 2,600 lawsuits filed against the pharmaceutical giant and its founding family, court papers show.

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The company made the request in a series of court papers submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain Wednesday, just days after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in White Plains, New York.

In Wednesday’s filing, Purdue requested that a preliminary injunction be placed for 270 days -- approximately nine months --  to preserve money that would otherwise be spent on legal fees, according to the court papers.

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The company is currently paying more than $5 million in legal expenses and related costs and fees per week and, "the endless, relentless pressure on the business and its employees is equally material."

Prior to its bankruptcy filing, Purdue was one of the multiple big-name pharmaceutical companies to face a first-of-its-kind federal trial starting on Oct. 21 in Ohio.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based business is accused of fueling the opioid crisis, which claimed approximately 400,000 lives nationwide between 1997 and 2017.