Individuals can now submit claims against Purdue Pharma.
Individuals now have until June 30 to file a claim against Purdue Pharma, according to Judge Robert Drain who is overseeing the bankruptcy case. This includes institutions such as hospitals as well as consumers who wish to file personal injury claims against the company. Judge Drain emphasized during the hearing in White Plains, New York, that no final settlement is in place, although the potential amount is rumored to be around $10 million.
Although the judge has set a date for individuals to file, there is no guarantee there will be funds available to disperse. The court must still approve a settlement deal and restructuring proposal before determining how the company’s assets will be divided. The court emphasized that the claims would be open only to people who believe they were harmed by Purdue’s drugs, not opioids in general. However, attorneys are advising that plaintiffs should file claims even if they’re not sure Purdue’s drugs were involved.
The harm that can be caused by even one round of prescription opioids is undeniable. Dede Yoder of Norwalk, Connecticut, said she’ll file on her son’s behalf. Christopher was prescribed a 30-day supply of OxyContin after undergoing surgeries when he was 13 and 14 years old. He died in 2017 at age 21 of a heroin overdose.
“I spent my whole retirement. I probably spent almost $200,000 on rehab and doctors,” she said. “I would like to get my retirement back; I’m not looking for this huge payoff.”
In most cases, mailers or emails are sent to those who may be eligible to file a claim against a company in a class action. Sometimes, ads are placed in publications. However, because there are so many people who may hold Purdue responsible, the procedure will likely have to deviate from this standard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates the “prescription and illicit opioids have been linked to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000.” Then there are those who have suffered from subsequent addiction with substantial medical bills they’re hoping to have reimbursed. So, Purdue will reportedly spend $23.8 million to advertise the claim filing deadline.
The campaign the company is proposing is intended to reach 95% of U.S. adults, with ads in newspapers, movie theaters and on social media linked to sites such as Facebook. Billboards will also promote the deadline in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia where the effects have been particularly devastating. A public relations firm will oversee the campaign, reaching out to media outlets to spread the word.
Individuals will also likely be spreading the word, and some who have escaped the clutches of addiction say they’ll donate any funds they receive. Garrett Hade, 33, said he has been sober for five years after a long, painful journey with addiction that began when he took prescription OxyContin in his teens. These days, as an organizer with the Recovery Advocacy Project, he said he’s telling people that they will be able to make claims. “People need to know that as a person there is some recourse out there,” said Hade.