By Dietrich Knauth

(Reuters) -A mediator holding talks between members of the Sackler family that own Purdue Pharma and U.S. states opposed to the OxyContin-maker’s bankruptcy exit plan requested an extension of negotiations intended to resolve claims that the company fueled a U.S. opioid epidemic.

The mediator asked a bankruptcy judge to extend the deadline to Feb. 16 from Feb. 7, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.

Purdue, the maker of the highly addictive opioid pain drug OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy in 2019 in the face of thousands of lawsuits accusing it and wealthy Sackler family members who owned the company of fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic through deceptive marketing.

The company pleaded guilty to misbranding and fraud charges related to its marketing of OxyContin in 2007 and 2020. The Sacklers have denied wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Tom Hals and Dietrich Knauth; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Berkrot)