Targeting Purdue Pharma, "The US Judiciary Tackles Unbridled Capitalism"

The US pharmaceutical group has asked to be placed under the protection of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Act as part of an amicable settlement. An attempt to extinguish the fire related to the opioid crisis in the United States, notes Philippe Escande, economic editorialist in the "World".

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Purdue Pharma's headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut (Northeastern United States) in April.
Purdue Pharma's headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut (Northeastern United States) in April. Drew Angerer / AFP

Losses and profits. When Raymond and Mortimer Sackler bought Purdue in 1952, the company was only a small pharmacist in New York, a producer of laxatives and ear cleaners. The two brothers and their successors developed the business until, in the 1990s, they became a specialist in the treatment of pain. Almost seventy years later, the profitability of the company made the fortune of Sackler's descendants and the shame of America. Two figures summarize: 400,000 dead and 13 billion dollars in wealth (11.7 billion euros). Its flagship drug, OxyContin, marketed from 1996, is at the origin, along with other competitors, the most serious health crisis in the United States since the post-war period.

The opium derivatives (codeine, morphine), which constitute its active ingredient, are certainly very effective in relieving pain, but their power of addiction is considerable and the risk of overdose, fatal. Between 1999 and 2017, nearly 400,000 people died in the United States. The sale of this drug, the prescription of which should have been severely controlled, was instead encouraged by hundreds of medical visitors who invaded practitioners' offices to persuade them to prescribe more of this miracle pill. His bonus system was one of the most generous in the industry.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Opiate crisis: US companies try to get amicable settlements

Today, faced with a crisis that alone has reduced life expectancy in the United States, almost every state in the country has launched a lawsuit seeking compensation for the million families affected. by this scourge. A total of 2,600 complaints were registered. In an attempt to extinguish the fire, the company requested Sunday, September 15, to be placed under the protection of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Act. And she proposes a spectacular global resolution: the nationalization of Purdue.

Nationalization of losses

It would be a question of entrusting the management of the company and all of its future earnings to a trust representing the States, the whole of the profits being returned to them to finance the aid to the victims and the research on the fight against the 'addiction. The deal is valued at $ 10 billion and the Sackler family has promised to add $ 3 billion. Twenty-nine states and territories have accepted the transaction, but 26 others formally oppose it, including New York.


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