The company that has made billions selling the prescription painkiller OxyContin says it is considering bankruptcy as one of several possible legal options.

Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma's statement comes as the first trial date nears in hundreds of lawsuits aiming to hold the company and others in the drug industry accountable for the U.S. opioid crisis. It issued the statement after its president and CEO told The Washington Post that bankruptcy is under consideration.

The filing would likely pause the litigation, at least as far as it concerns Purdue. A federal bankruptcy judge would have wide discretion on what comes next.

The lawsuits assert the company aggressively sold OxyContin as a drug with a low chance of triggering addictions despite knowing that wasn't true.

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