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Madison County seeks compensation as part of Purdue Pharma opioid settlement

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons announced his office is filing a claim for damages against Purdue Pharma L.P., to compensate Madison County families and local government for damages resulting from the opioid epidemic.

Gibbons also recommends the majority of any money received by Madison County should go into a victims’ compensation fund for families of overdose death victims, with the remainder set aside to fund grants for treatment, education and public safety programs. State’s Attorney Gibbons has been a leader in the fight against the opioid epidemic throughout his service as State’s Attorney.

More recently, Gibbons has been working with a group of Illinois State’s Attorneys and the Attorney General to secure compensation from a mass settlement with Purdue Pharma L.P., available for local governments to claim compensation. Specific amounts to be paid will be determined through a claims management process. Purdue Pharma L.P. has filed bankruptcy, which requires part of the process will have to go through the federal bankruptcy Court. Illinois, along with other states, sued Purdue for losses suffered as a result of opioid prescription pain killers, such as OxyContin.

The Attorney General’s Office has been working with state’s attorneys since the beginning of the litigation. Currently, Gibbons is coordinating the claim effort with Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn, Sheriff John Lakin, the Madison County Health Department and other potentially impacted County Departments.

Gibbons statement reads:

“For decades, certain pharmacy companies have poisoned our community, ruining families and so many precious lives in their pursuit of profits from highly addictive, deadly drugs. Over the years, families have watched loved ones taken down the dark path of addiction – never to return.

“Taxpayers have had to pay the bills for the epidemic as our County and local governments have had to endure increased costs for public safety and the heartbreaking costs of responding to overdoses and overdose deaths. All of this was caused by pharmaceutical companies and paid from your taxes, and it’s time these perpetrators pay the families and taxpayers back,” said Gibbons. Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn, who has helped lead the fight alongside Gibbons, recognized the terrible hardships caused by the opioid epidemic and expressed his sympathy and support for families and for the claim effort, stating, “My exceptional team of Deputy Coroners has been a first-hand witness to the excruciating pain and suffering of loved ones at the scene of so many opioid overdose deaths.

“We can never fully replace lost loved ones or repair the harm that has been suffered by so many families and individuals in our community. Their losses are immeasurable. However, by holding the perpetrators accountable and hitting them where it hurts the most, we can secure funding that is desperately needed to provide compensation for those who have lost a loved one, as well as critical funding to help those families still going through the nightmare of opioid addiction and to increase our efforts to prevent future suffering. We need to do everything we can to help those who are suffering and to finally put an end to this horrific chapter in our history.” “I am once again calling on our County government to join me as a partner in this effort to support families who have lost a loved one and to restore stolen taxpayer money. We need to help the families that have suffered the ultimate loss, as well as those currently engaged in the fight against addiction, and also take necessary steps to prevent others from suffering this same terrible fate.

“We should be using the settlement funds to support families who have lost a loved one and to pay for treatment, education and public safety efforts,” the statement said.

Other local governments in Madison County may be able to file claims, but there is a deadline for filing that is fast approaching. The Civil Division of the State’s Attorney’s Office is available to assist local governments in the claims process.

Last September, Purdue Pharma L.P. announced it reached an agreement in principle on a framework for settling the U.S. opioid litigation facing the company with 24 state attorneys general, analogous officials from five U.S. territories, the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the multidistrict litigation (MDL), and co-lead counsel in the MDL.

According to a statement on Purdue’s website:

The settlement structure is estimated to provide more than $10 billion of value to address the opioid crisis. The key elements of the settlement, which is subject to court approval, include:

  • The owners of Purdue contributing all of its assets to a trust or other entity established for the benefit of claimants and the American people;
  • The new company (“NewCo”) being governed by a new board selected by claimants and approved by the Bankruptcy Court;
  • NewCo potentially contributing tens of millions of doses of opioid overdose reversal and addiction treatment medications at no or low cost;
  • NewCo agreeing to be bound permanently by injunctive relief, including marketing restrictions on the sale and promotion of opioids; and
  • In addition to 100 percent of Purdue, the Sackler families contributing a minimum of $3 billion, with the potential for substantial further monetary contributions from the sales of their ex-U.S. pharmaceutical businesses.

This unique framework for a comprehensive resolution will dedicate all of the assets and resources of Purdue for the benefit of the American public,” said Steve Miller, chairman of Purdue’s board of directors. “This settlement framework avoids wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years on protracted litigation, and instead will provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis. We will continue to work with state attorneys general and other plaintiff representatives to finalize and implement this agreement as quickly as possible.”

Under the agreement reached among the parties, Purdue’s unique technical know-how and deep experience in developing medicines will be used for the benefit of the American public. The settlement framework contemplates that NewCo could provide to states and local communities, at no or low cost, life-saving opioid overdose reversal medications such as nalmefene and naloxone.

Purdue has received FDA fast-track designation for nalmefene hydrochloride, a much-needed treatment that has the potential to reverse overdoses from powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. NewCo could also continue supporting the development of an over-the-counter (OTC) nasal naloxone product, and provide millions of doses of these medicines at no or low cost to communities around the country. It is hoped that this will dramatically increase access to this life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication, one of the FDA’s top public health priorities.

To finalize and implement the settlement agreement, Purdue filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code as the next step in implementing this historic agreement in principle. This court-supervised process is intended to, among other things, facilitate an orderly and equitable resolution of all claims against Purdue, while preserving the value of Purdue’s assets for the benefit of those impacted by the opioid crisis.

Court documents and additional information can be found at a website administered by Purdue’s claims agent, PrimeClerk, at https://restructuring.primeclerk.com/purduepharma or by calling the company’s restructuring information line, toll-free in the U.S., at (844) 217-0912. For calls originating outside of the U.S., please dial +1 (347) 859-8093.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Dechert LLP are serving as legal counsel to Purdue. PJT Partners is serving as investment banker, and AlixPartners is serving as financial advisor.

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