West Virginia to vote against Purdue Pharma bankruptcy plan

West Virginia to vote against Purdue Pharma bankruptcy plan
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West Virginia will vote against Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy plan because of objections over the allocation of settlement money, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) said Tuesday.

According to Morrisey, the proposed settlement fund allocation plan is largely based on population, not on the intensity of the opioid problem.

However, West Virginia's objection is not likely to stop the deal from being implemented. Last week, a majority of the remaining holdout states dropped their objections to the bankruptcy plan after Purdue agreed to additional concessions. 

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Fifteen state attorneys general accepted the $4.5 billion settlement deal, which would send money to government entities to address the opioid crisis, along with individual victims and their families.

As recently as last month, 24 states and the District of Columbia objected to the proposed settlement, saying it failed to hold individual shareholders appropriately accountable. They said the settlement amounted to a "stretched-out payment of only a tiny fraction" of the Sackler family owners' liability.

West Virginia has previously argued that the settlement allocation plan was negotiated primarily by big states like California and New York, and so doesn't account in any meaningful way for the great disparities in intensity of opioid addiction and opioid deaths.

“I remain vigorously opposed to a proposed allocation formula that would distribute settlement funds largely based on a state or local government’s population – not intensity of the problem,” Morrisey said in a statement. 

“Any such allocation formula fails to recognize the disproportionate harm caused by opioids in our state. I look forward to arguing our case in court this August.”

Morrisey filed a lawsuit against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and former president Richard Sackler in May 2019. 

The lawsuit alleges Purdue Pharma created a false narrative to convince prescribers that opioids are not addictive and that its opioid products were safer than they actually were.