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OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma seeking permission to pay millions in bonuses

Brittany De Lea

Troubled Purdue Pharma, which filed for bankruptcy this week, is looking to dole out millions of dollars’ worth of bonuses to employees – as the company faces a litany of challenges over how it marketed the painkiller OxyContin.

The drugmaker is seeking permission to pay out $34 million to certain workers who met “target performance goals,” according to a report from the Washington Post

The requests were made earlier this week during a bankruptcy court hearing in New York, the publication reported, where they were said to have been called “way beyond” what companies typically give out during bankruptcy proceedings.

The Connecticut Attorney General told the Post that the $34 million requested for bonuses should be given to victims of the opioid epidemic.

Purdue Pharma has been cited as a key player in the opioid crisis because of how it marketed OxyContin, with critics accusing it of misleading doctors and the public about potential risks.

A spokesperson for the company told FOX Business in a statement that retaining its employees is “a key determinant of the company’s future value.”

“These bonus payments at the company are awarded through long-standing annual benefit plans, are reasonable in amount and similar programs are commonplace at most companies. The company continues to operate as a lean organization, having downsized its workforce by over 65% since 2017,” the spokesperson said.

It is not clear which employees would receive the bonuses, though The Post reported eligible recipients would have had to meet performance goals for the past three years.

Purdue, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday, asked a judge on Wednesday to halt thousands of lawsuits filed against it and the Sackler family for about nine months.

The proposed settlement would require the company to provide an estimated $10 billion in value to address the opioid crisis. The family that controls the pharmaceutical company – the Sacklers – have agreed to pay at least $3 billion.

Some states, however, have rejected the deal.

The Sacklers paid $75 million as part of a $270 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma earlier this year.

Opioid addiction has resulted in hundreds of thousands of American fatalities.

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