Public trust proposal in opioid suit called ‘novel approach’

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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