Opioid victims can begin filing claims against Purdue Pharma

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(AP) — State and local governments have been leading the legal fight against the opioid industry, seeking payouts to help them deal with the fallout from the nation’s addiction crisis. Average Americans are about to get their shot.

On Friday, the federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy case of Purdue Pharma set a June 30 deadline to file a claim against the company. That includes governments, entities such as hospitals and, for the first time, individuals who have personal injury claims.

It’s not clear how much money might be at stake. Purdue reached an agreement with some states and local governments that could be worth more than $10 billion over time as part of its bankruptcy filing. But Judge Robert Drain emphasized during the hearing in White Plains, New York, that no final settlement is in place.

Once a settlement and restructuring deal for Purdue is approved, the next step will be deciding how to divide the company’s assets. There is no guarantee those who became addicted to opioids or their families would receive any money, and the judged emphasized that the claims would be open only to people who believe they were harmed by Purdue’s products, not opioids generally. Still, lawyers for plaintiffs say people should file claims even if they’re not sure Purdue’s drugs were involved in their injuries.

Dede Yoder of Norwalk, Connecticut, is among those who plan to file. Her son, Christopher, was prescribed a 30-day supply of painkillers, including OxyContin, during a series of surgeries when he was 13 and 14 years old.

He died in 2017 at age 21 of a heroin overdose after years of rehab and relapses. His mother is now on a committee of victims seeking input in the process.

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