Purdue Pharma Caused $2.15 Trillion in U.S. Economic Damage, States Say

(Bloomberg) — Purdue Pharma LP, the bankrupt maker of OxyContin painkillers, helped inflict more than $2.15 trillion in financial damage on the U.S. economy while pushing highly addictive opioids on Americans for almost two decades, four dozen states told a judge.

a close up of a bottle: Bottles of Purdue Pharma L.P. OxyContin medication sit on a pharmacy shelf in Provo, Utah, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.

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Bottles of Purdue Pharma L.P. OxyContin medication sit on a pharmacy shelf in Provo, Utah, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.

Almost every U.S. state and territory will seek to recover a fraction of those alleged losses in Purdue’s Chapter 11 case, which the company filed to block thousands of civil lawsuits over opioid-related deaths and injuries. New York’s losses alone total more than $165 billion, according to a joint filing by the states made public Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York.


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The filing comes as Purdue and its billionaire owners, the Sackler family, who aren’t in bankruptcy, deny arguments that a global settlement proposed in bankruptcy court falls short of its share of what local and state governments need for dealing with the financial cost of the opioid crisis.

“This financial toll only accounts for a sliver of the damage inflicted on the American people,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said Monday in a statement. “The millions of families that have suffered as the result of addiction, ailments and death can never be repaid for their losses.”

The states’ tally includes an array of costs, including money for addiction treatment and health care, increased financing of the criminal justice system, lost revenue for businesses, child welfare, and even the lost economic input of victims who were once contributing members of society.

The U.S. government will also seek a payout from Purdue. The Department of Justice is demanding Purdue pay more than $11 billion in criminal and civil penalties as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan, people familiar with the claims said this month. Other creditors include individuals who lost a loved one to opioid addiction and hospitals that treated addicts.

Purdue’s $10 billion global settlement plan calls for the Sackler family to hand over Purdue to a trust controlled by the states, cities and counties that have sued to recoup billions spent battling opioid addictions and overdoses. It also would require the family to come up with $3 billion themselves.

The states and territories haven’t yet laid out how much money they’ll try to recover from the company. The filing so far merely explains how much money they think the economy has lost from the opioid crisis, which has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Read More: U.S. Wants $11 Billion in Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Case

In a statement, Purdue said the claims process completed by the company was one of the biggest in U.S. history, and that claims are often far more than what is actually paid out.

“Purdue continues its work to emerge from bankruptcy, garner additional support for the proposed settlement and implement a final resolution,” the company said in a statement. “The proposed settlement would deliver more than $10 billion in value, including 100% of Purdue’s assets, to claimants and communities, and would address the opioid crisis by providing needed funds, as well as millions of doses of lifesaving opioid addiction treatment and overdose reversal medicines.”

Representatives for the Sackler family didn’t have an immediate comment on the filing.

(Updates with Justice Department’s claim.)

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