The billionaire family that owned Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, withdrew more than $10 billion in recent years from the company and funneled it into trusts and overseas holding companies, a new audit by Purdue has revealed. That’s more than eight times as much as the family took out since 1995 – the year OxyContin was launched, the New York Times reported.
The information is likely to hang a dark cloud over settlement talks between the Sackler family and its pharmaceutical company, and the more than 2,800 states and local governments who sued the Sacklers and their company. Lawsuits blamed them for creating a national opioid epidemic that cost communities lives from overdose deaths as well as economic damages.
As part of a settlement agreement with most of the plaintiffs, the Sacklers have agreed to give up ownership of Purdue Pharma and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the company. Purdue will dissolve into a public beneficiary trust, which will still manufacture OxyContin but proceeds will be turned over to plaintiffs. The company will also provide free access to its overdose antidotes and addiction treatments, many of which are currently under development. The Sacklers also agreed to pay $3 billion from their own pockets.
Twenty-four states, however, have refused to sign off on the agreement, claiming the Sacklers aren’t paying their fair share.
“The fact that the Sackler family removed more than $10 billion when Purdue’s OxyContin was directly causing countless addictions, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and tearing apart millions of families is further reason that we must see detailed financial records showing how much the Sacklers profited from the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement to the New York Times. “We need full transparency into their total assets and must know whether they sheltered them in an effort to protect against creditors and victims.”
Beasley Allen has an Opioid Litigation Team that includes these lawyers: Rhon Jones, Parker Miller, Ryan Kral, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton, Roger Smith and Jeff Price. This team represents the State of Alabama, the State of Georgia, and numerous local governments, as well as other entities in multidistrict litigation.