Courtesy of Pain
The artist Nan Goldin and the activist group Pain (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) have launched the initiative OxyJustice.org to help victims of the opioid crisis file a Proof of Claim with the US Bankruptcy Court against the drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma. The company has been accused in federal and state lawsuits of minimising the risks of the painkiller OxyContin while aggressively marketing the prescription, leading to the addiction and deaths of more than 400,000 people since 1999.
Last September, Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a strategy to protect the company and the Sackler family—the museum patrons and owners of Purdue Pharma—from the litigation, halting around 3,000 lawsuits. Purdue is now working to restructure the company in the US bankruptcy court, which will determine a settlement to divide the drug manufacturers assets among creditors.
According to information provided by Pain, less than 5,000 personal injury claims were processed by Purdue Pharma as of 30 April. The initiative aims to “drastically increase this number before the deadline by providing those with legitimate claims the information they need to file”. While the group does not offer legal advice, Pain reiterates that individuals do not need a lawyer or pharmacy records in order to file a claim and the OxyJustice.org site provides clear instructions on how to file and additional legal information and resources.
“While its unlikely that any person will be awarded the full value of their claim, it is essential that it be recorded to measure the impact of the Sacklers opioid empire,” Pain writes in a statement. “It is our duty to accurately reflect the damage done to America as a whole.”
By filing a claim, individuals become creditors in the case against Purdue Pharma and will be asked to vote on how Purdue will be restructured. The deadline to file a claim is 30 June. A pending brief filed by Attorney General William Tong last week in the Southern District of New York has requested that the deadline be extended to 30 September due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The public health crisis “has made life even more difficult for vulnerable communities—like working families, drug users, rural communities and those living below the poverty line,” Pain writes in a statement on the group's website. “Its more important than ever to strengthen our own networks of communication and support.”