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OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma loses the bid to delay opioid epidemic

(Reuters) – OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma LP and two other drug manufacturers on Friday lost a bid to delay a landmark trial in May in several billion-billion Oklahoma lawyer general accusing them of helping fuel an opioid abuse and overdose epidemic in the state. FILE PHOTO: Prescription painkillers bottles OxyContin pills, made by Purdue Pharma LP, sit on a counter at a local pharmacy in Provo, Utah, USA, April 25, 2017. REUTERS / George Frey / File Photo Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman's decision was a victory for the state, even though one of the lawyers for the state said that Purdue had "threatened" to file for bankruptcy rather than face the first trial due to approximately 2,000 national trials. "This case must disappear because people die every day," says Reggie Whitten, the lawyer of the state, during a hearing in Norman, Oklahoma. Reuters, referring to people who are familiar with the issue, on Monday reported that Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue, owned by members of the rich Sackler family, investigated the application. 11 bankruptcy protection. Doing so would make it possible to deal with any legal debt while interrupting the case. Eric Pinker, Purdue's lawyer, did not mention a possible bankruptcy, arguing that the May 28 trial in Oklahoma Hunts attorney Mike Hunter's lawsuit would be Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd delayed. He said delaying the trial until September 16 was necessary because the state delayed over 1.6 million pages of records critical to Purdue's defense. "This…

(Reuters) – OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma LP and two other drug manufacturers on Friday lost a bid to delay a landmark trial in May in several billion-billion Oklahoma lawyer general accusing them of helping fuel an opioid abuse and overdose epidemic in the state.

FILE PHOTO: Prescription painkillers bottles OxyContin pills, made by Purdue Pharma LP, sit on a counter at a local pharmacy in Provo, Utah, USA, April 25, 2017. REUTERS / George Frey / File Photo

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman’s decision was a victory for the state, even though one of the lawyers for the state said that Purdue had “threatened” to file for bankruptcy rather than face the first trial due to approximately 2,000 national trials.

“This case must disappear because people die every day,” says Reggie Whitten, the lawyer of the state, during a hearing in Norman, Oklahoma.

Reuters, referring to people who are familiar with the issue, on Monday reported that Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue, owned by members of the rich Sackler family, investigated the application. 11 bankruptcy protection. Doing so would make it possible to deal with any legal debt while interrupting the case.

Eric Pinker, Purdue’s lawyer, did not mention a possible bankruptcy, arguing that the May 28 trial in Oklahoma Hunts attorney Mike Hunter’s lawsuit would be Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd delayed.

He said delaying the trial until September 16 was necessary because the state delayed over 1.6 million pages of records critical to Purdue’s defense. “This case is not in a stance where it can quite and fully testify in May this year,” Pinker said.

But the judge said that doctors had not determined the state’s actions had damaged them.

Purdue in a statement said it “categorically” denies that ruling will affect whether it registers for bankruptcy. Purdue said it was “looking at all their options” but had not made any decisions.

Opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl, were involved in a record 47,600 overdose death in 2017, according to U.S. Pat. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The epidemic has caused trials by state and local authorities accusing Purdue and other drug companies to contribute to the crisis through fraudulent marketing that reduced the risks of addictive opioids.

Companies deny inaccuracies and note that their drugs carry warning labels and point to other factors behind the epidemic.

More than 1,600 trials have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio, who has pushed for a pre-trial solution in October. Other cases, including Oklahoma, await state courts.

Reporting Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Grant McCool and Leslie Adler

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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