For years, Purdue Pharma L.P. claimed they had nothing to do with the opioid epidemic.
Yes, they created OxyContin and downplayed the powerful opioid’s addictive potential. Yes, they profited tremendously while American families and communities were ripped apart by drugs that were supposed to help them. But no, Purdue would have you believe that they were shocked and saddened by the hundreds of thousands of opioid-related deaths.
Unfortunately for those who cashed in on America’s deadly addiction, the truth comes out. Purdue’s role in kickstarting the opioid epidemic through misleading marketing is now common knowledge, thanks in large part to the multidistrict opioid litigation that has brought their reckless conduct into the light.
It has not been an easy fight, but thousands of towns, cities, tribes, states, and other communities joined together and took these white-collar drug dealers to court. These groups spoke up for the millions of Americans affected by bad decisions that began in the boardrooms of companies like Purdue, Mallinckrodt, and Johnson & Johnson.
Now, after spending millions trying to keep the truth about their reckless behavior from coming out, Purdue is shifting its strategy.
Purdue Alerts Potential Claimants of Quick Bar Date
On Feb. 24, the Associated Press reported that Purdue had begun a $23.8 Million advertising blitz as part of its bankruptcy plan. The campaign was approved by the judge overseeing the case and is intended to reach 95% of U.S. adults.
The purpose of the ad campaign is to inform individuals about how to file claims against the company if they have been injured by Purdue’s actions, lies, or products. Families may file a wrongful death lawsuit if the person harmed by Purdue has passed away.
The advertisements urge people to come forward quickly because Purdue has set a bar date of June 30, 2020, at 5 p.m. EST. The bar date is the deadline for filing claims that arose before Purdue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September of last year.
After the bar date, no person, community, or government will be able to seek compensation from Purdue Pharma L.P. or its subsidiaries including:
- Imbrium Therapeutics L.P.
- Adlon Therapeutics L.P.
- Greenfield BioVentures L.P.
- Avrio Health L.P.
- Rhodes Technologies
- Rhodes Pharmaceuticals L.P.
Up to this point, the majority of claims against Purdue have been filed by groups rather than individuals, though individual claims are allowed. It is not certain how much of an eventual settlement will be available to those filing private opioid lawsuits.
Negotiations are ongoing as a number of states have yet to agree to the $10 Billion settlement proposed by Purdue. State Attorneys General have said that Purdue’s deal will not provide enough to communities struggling to pick up the pieces.
Purdue Uses Ads to Minimize Founding Role in Opioid Epidemic
Although it is common for debtors to reach out to potential claimants during a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Purdue’s multimillion-dollar ad spend reflects the unprecedented scope of the problem they caused. Everyone knows someone who has had their life turned upside down by opioids.
The nationwide advertising campaign does not, however, represent a change of heart for Purdue, or its owners, the Sackler family. Once again, they have treated a major moment in a public health crisis as an opportunity for public relationship management.
In addition to help with claims, Purdue’s “informative” campaign is complete with colorful graphs and charts designed to show that the company was barely involved with the opioid crisis. They tell a very different story than the black-and-white facts that came out during the opioid lawsuits.
It’s as if Purdue still thinks they did nothing wrong.
Purdue’s Billions Are Worth Nothing Without a Change in Corporate Behavior
Many of the companies responsible for flooding the country with powerful prescription drugs are finally being held responsible.
This is good news.
Through bankruptcies and other settlements, individuals and communities will finally get the resources they need to respond to the ongoing crisis.
Moving forward, part of any meaningful resolution must include safeguards to prevent another drug company from manufacturing another catastrophe. New drugs are released every year. Doctors need to be able to trust that manufacturers are being honest about the risks that come with them.
Purdue betrayed that trust and the consequences continue to be deadly. On the day that Purdue’s bar date arrives in June, more than 100 people will die as a result of opioid abuse, if current trends hold.
The following day, there will be another 100-plus opioid-related deaths. And the day after that.