BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey has asked a bankruptcy court to give people more time to file claims against OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma.
She also has set up a hotline to connect residents with volunteers who can help put together a claim.
Healey and attorneys general from 24 states filed a brief Tuesday evening in Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York asking that the deadline for claims to be filed against the Connecticut company that manufactures OxyContin and has been targeted by state and local governments for its role in the opioid epidemic be extended to Sept. 30 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current deadline is June 30.
"People who have been harmed by Purdue Pharma deserve a full opportunity to file their claims and have their voices heard," Healey said. "We know how important justice in this case is to families in Massachusetts and across the country. No one should lose their rights during a pandemic."
In September, Purdue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York and announced that it had agreed to a roughly $10 billion settlement with 24 state attorneys general.
Healey, who filed the first state lawsuit against individual members of the company's controlling Sackler family, opposed any settlement that does not require the Sacklers to forfeit some of the profits they counted from the sale of opioids and has formally opposed the bankruptcy petition.
Healey's office said it has established a referral line to match Massachusetts residents who wish to file a claim against Purdue with a law student from Boston College Law School for help with the process.
More than 800 people filled prescriptions for OxyContin in Massachusetts since Jan. 1, 2009, and have subsequently died of an opioid-related overdose in Massachusetts, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.
In the first half of 2019, 53 people — or more than two a week — who had been prescribed OxyContin since 2009 died of an opioid overdose in Massachusetts, Healey and other AGs said in a court filing late last year.