FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. State attorneys general and lawyers representing local governments said Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, they are in active negotiations with Purdue Pharma, maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, as they attempt to reach a landmark settlement over the nation's opioid crisis. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Public trust proposal in opioid suit called 'novel approach'

August 28, 2019 - 3:50 pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A legal expert is calling the possibility of transforming the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin into a public trust a novel approach.

John Coffee is a law professor and director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School. He said Wednesday he's never heard of one being used as a mechanism for a large civil settlement, even though the U.S. has many such public benefit corporations.

Published reports say Purdue Pharma would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and transform itself into a "public beneficiary trust," with all profits from drug sales going to the plaintiffs.

The reports say the company has proposed a $10 billion to $12 billion settlement to end hundreds of local government lawsuits suing over the effect of the opioid epidemic.

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