Purdue Pharma begins plan to settle lawsuits with lengthy hearing in White Plains

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An overflowing crowd packed a White Plains federal courtroom Tuesday for the first hearing in the bankruptcy filing by pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma.

Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma's plan to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits over the nation's deadly opioid crisis started with a nearly four-hour hearing. On Sunday, Purdue filed for bankruptcy just days after reaching a tentative deal said to be worth $10 billion.

The company wants to reimburse state and local governments for the impact opioids like heroin and fentanyl have had on communities.

Purdue would continue to operate, but profits would go to those suing the company. The Sackler family would also give up ownership and contribute at least $3 billion toward th settlement.

Lawyers for Purdue had nothing to say to reporters outside the courthouse, but late last week, the chairman of Purdue's board of directors issued a statement saying in part, "This settlement framework avoids wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years of protracted litigation, and instead will provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis."

The bankruptcy filing means Purdue will likely be removed from the first federal opioid trial that is scheduled to start in Cleveland in just over a month. So far, 26 states, including New York, have not signed on to the proposal to settle the suits.

All sides are expected back in court in October.


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