Will the Pressure of Blame Drive Purdue Pharma into bankruptcy?

By Eryn Adler and Makayla Scalli Thousands of endless lawsuits have been filed to the Sackler family pharmaceutical business, Purdue Pharma, who are the creators of the most addictive...

By Eryn Adler and Makayla Scalli

Thousands of endless lawsuits have been filed to the Sackler family pharmaceutical business, Purdue Pharma, who are the creators of the most addictive drug on the market, OxyContin. As a result, Purdue Pharma has been preparing to file for bankruptcy to deter future lawsuits related to the opioid crisis in order to protect their name and their financial security as of March 2019 (Conley, 2019). This file for bankruptcy is also to take the blame off of the company for their participation in the opioid epidemic.

These lawsuits have created a lot of pressure towards the Sackler family to confess in their lead in the opioid epidemic, but, instead, they continue to deny their fault in the matter. This epidemic stemmed from the manipulation of Purdue Pharma through marketing efforts onto doctors and their patients in withholding information regarding high addictiveness of the drug (Conley, 2019). Throughout the past 20+ years, Purdue Pharma spent “hundreds of millions of dollars convincing the American public that opioid painkillers are safe to use for chronic pain” when it was not (Conley, 2019). Not only has this family company manipulated the American public, but they now have taken advantage of the court system by filing for bankruptcy, which will protect them from official legal blame. This, now, puts a halt to any potential testimony from current opioid addicts to fight for justice after being continuously lied to by big Pharma and to stop the company from profiting off of their suffering (Conley, 2019). If this pattern continues, then Pharma will never be detained.

The discussion of Purdue Pharma’s possible bankruptcy claim through mainstream media source, CBS News, attempts to target a larger audience geared more towards stating facts on the case. In seeking to reach the mass public, CBS slightly mentions Wall Street and the difference in current pharmaceutical shares to interest the larger corporate audience (Gibson, 2019). They also make sure to include commentary from the company itself by stating, “We have ample liquidity and remain committed to meeting our obligations to the patients who benefit from our medicines, our suppliers and other business partners” (Gibson, 2019). On the other hand, AlterNet, acts as an independent media source, having more of an opinionated focus and drawing to a more specific and smaller audience. They do this by comparing big Pharma’s actions to similar work done by U.S. president, Donald Trump, inserting information that shows they believe Purdue Pharma should be reprimanded, as well as tweets that support their viewpoint (Conley, 2019).



Julia Conley, “‘The Trumpian way out’: Purdue Pharma slammed for considering bankruptcy ‘to avoid accountability for their role in the opioid epidemic.’” AlterNet, March 5, 2019, https://www.alternet.org/2019/03/the-trumpian-way-out-purdue-pharma-slammed-for-considering-bankruptcy-to-avoid-accountability-for-their-role-in-the-opioid-epidemic/

Kate Gibson, “OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma may declare bankruptcy.” CBS News, March 4, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/purdue-pharma-oxycontin-considering-bankruptcy/

Student Authors: Eryn Adler and Makayla Scalli (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Faculty Evaluator: Allison Butler (University of Massachusetts Amherst)



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