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Small white pills surround a bottle of OxyContin

Last September, pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy, a move at the center of the company’s efforts to shield itself and its owners from more than 2,600 federal and state lawsuits concerning its controversial drug Oxycontin which is at the center of the opioid drug crisis in the United States.

Now, Purdue has launched a $23.8 million marketing campaign intended to demonstrate how individuals injured by the drug may files claims in bankruptcy court.

The Associated Press reported that the ad campaign and new website are part of a proposed settlement that could be worth $10 billion. The website allows people who believe they were harmed by improper opioid prescriptions to quickly file claims against Purdue.

Ads directing people to the website are expected to run on TV, radio and online and are targeted to reach 95 percent of U.S. adults, according to the AP.

Despite Purdue’s concessions in the proposed settlement, about half of the states involved in the lawsuit against the drug manufacturer reportedly said the proposal is too lenient.

The Oxycontin lawsuits allege that Purdue aggressively marketed the opioid and pressured doctors to write as many prescriptions as possible without disclosing the addictive qualities of the powerful opioid.

The filing deadline for individuals who have been injured by Oxycontin is June 30, 2020.

In addition to scores of lawsuits, Purdue Pharma has been under investigation for paying illegal kickbacks to companies and individuals who helped sell their dangerous drug.

Members of the wealthy Sackler family who control Purdue but no longer sit on its board have also been named in litigation.  The development intensifies pressure on Purdue and the Sacklers as the company holds talks aimed at resolving the Justice Department investigations. Resolving those probes is a condition of a tentative multibillion-dollar settlement with more than 2,600 cities, counties and states that have sued Purdue and its wealthy owners seeking to hold them responsible for the opioid epidemic.

The company and the Sacklers deny they are to blame for the crisis that has caused some 400,000 deaths between 1999 and 2017, according to U.S. health officials.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “2018 data shows that every day, 128 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total ‘economic burden’ of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.”

The National Institute lays the blame squarely on the opioid manufacturers for this crisis because they convinced the medical community that opioids were safe and effective ways of managing chronic or severe pain.  They never mentioned the addictive nature of these drugs.

The Institute estimates that 25% of opioid users (those who are prescribed them) misuse the drug and become addicted to them.  They estimate that 80% of heroin users first used opioids.

This is a national crisis caused by the greed of the pharmaceutical drug industry, in particular Purdue Pharma for its failure to disclose the dangerous and addictive qualities of Oxycontin.  How many lives have been ruined because of greed and a corporate philosophy that puts profits over people?

If you or a loved one have been injured by the drug Oxycontin, contact Attorney Joe Saunders for a free, initial consultation.

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