Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company accused of being responsible for triggering the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic, has filed for bankruptcy, reports the Washington Post. The company filed for Chapter 11 on Sunday just days after a tentative settlement was reached last week between Purdue and state and local governments to settle 2,000 opioid-related lawsuits.
Purdue, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, has been accused by virtually every U.S. state of exaggerating the pain killer OxyContin’s benefits while downplaying how addictive the medicine is. Critics say Purdue’s OxyContin is responsible for helping fuel an opioid epidemic that kills up to 130 people a day and has claimed 218,000 lives in America between 1999 and 2017.
Announcing the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, the chairman of Purdue’s board of directors, Steve Miller, said, “This settlement framework avoids wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years on protracted litigation . . . instead will provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis.”
OxyContin was released in 1996, and at the time was marketed as a safer form of narcotic painkiller due to its time-released properties. It quickly became one of the most popular opioids, though Purdue says the drug currently only has less than a 2% share of the painkiller market.