Opioid Justice Team: We Will Fight Purdue Settlement on Behalf of Opioid-Dependent Babies

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Attorneys, medical experts and non-profit leaders represented by the Opioid Justice Team and more than 35 class actions representing infants born already opioid-dependent due to the mother’s use of prescription opioids while pregnant, intend to fight vigorously Purdue Pharma’s efforts to shield itself from thousands of lawsuits filed in relation to America’s prescription opioid crisis, fueled in large part by the marketing of Purdue’s OxyContin drug.

“This fight is not over, nor should it be." - Celeste Brustowicz

Attorneys, medical experts and non-profit leaders represented by the Opioid Justice Team and more than 35 class actions representing infants born already opioid-dependent due to the mother’s use of prescription opioids while pregnant, intend to fight vigorously Purdue Pharma’s efforts to shield itself from thousands of lawsuits filed in relation to America’s prescription opioid crisis, fueled in large part by the marketing of Purdue’s OxyContin drug.

“Our clients, the innocent victims of this nation’s unbridled corporate promotion of an addictive substance to thousands of men and women, but especially child-bearing aged women, will not accept the bankruptcy settlement,” said Lead Attorney Celeste Brustowicz. “This proposal ignores the most critical victims of this crisis, who will suffer birth defects like Spina Bifuda and Gillam-Barre, and very often be sent home from hospitals as opioid-free babies with unsuspecting parents who may not see developmental disabilities in these children for months.”

According to a settlement announced Sunday, Purdue hopes Chapter 11 bankruptcy will prompt an automatic stay of current civil litigation against the company over the opioid epidemic. Though Purdue estimates the value of the settlement at $10 billion, others with a vested interest in the proposal believe this is too optimistic a calculation and could be worth only half that much. Others oppose the deal because the restructured company proposed in the settlement allows on-going sales of OxyContin to fund the settlement structure, rather than the existing profits of Purdue’s owners themselves.

"After two decades of indiscriminate destruction and devastation to families nationwide, it is insincere for Purdue to declare in the days preceding its bell-weather trial in Cleveland, that it and the Sackler family alike are in a rush to get money to the politicians, whether it be the states, counties or cities," said Ms. Brustowicz. "Purdue voluntarily surrendering itself by agreeing to enjoin themselves from engaging in misconduct is unprecedented, even by Purdue's own lawyers."

Currently, cases against Purdue because of the prescription opioid crisis linked to drug manufacturer and distributor falsehoods and suspect marketing practices, number in the millions of individuals. Among these are at least 250,000 infants represented by the Opioid Justice Team. These attorneys and medical experts fighting on behalf of opioid-dependent infants estimate a baby with Neo-Natal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is born in the U.S. every 15 minutes.

“This is an insensitive response to children and their guardians. The time for defendants and Big Pharma to make amends with babies suffering from Neo-natal Abstinence Syndrome and related maladies is long overdue,” said Ms. Brustowicz. “This fight is not over, nor should it be.”

Ms. Brustowicz said her team will continue to push for a legal track in the Multi-District Litigation before Judge Polster, whom drug manufacturer representatives moved to have removed from the case over the weekend, as well as in the 35 individual states which have filed NAS class actions.

"We're on the side of the angels and we will continue to press on," she said.

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Cheron Brylski
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