Richard Sackler Says Family and Purdue Have No Responsibility


Former chairman and co-chairman of the board of Purdue Pharma, a prescription opioid manufacturer founded by members of the Sackler family, Dr. Deep within the third hour of Richard Sackler’s testimony in federal bankruptcy court, a lawyer asked a series of questions. :

“Do you have any responsibility for the opioid crisis in the United States?”

76-year-old Dr. “No,” Sackler replied lightly.

“Does the Sackler family have any responsibility for the opioid crisis in the United States?”

Again, “No.”

And finally:

“Is Purdue Pharma any responsibility for the opioid crisis in the United States?”

More precisely: “No.”

Dr. Sackler is perhaps the most well-known of them all. billionaire Sacklers, Who, who has been the most prominent family member in the launch of the company’s signature prescription pain reliever, OxyContin, for almost 20 years, made a rare, extended appearance Wednesday by videoconference before a judge presiding over the approval hearing of a plan to be restructured. Track and settle all lawsuits brought against the company and its family members for their role in the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Sackler is believed to be the first to answer questions in open court regarding the family’s opioid business. Similar to an expanded statement it gives From 2015 to Kentucky state attorneysDr. Sackler provided the legal team with testimonies largely filled with weak or incomplete memories, succinct statements, and deviations.

His voice was often barely audible, he apologized for having laryngitis, and occasionally appeared to dabble in technology that presented annoying difficulties in volume and opening documents emailed to him while testifying.

Still, while Sackler didn’t offer any new information on what was already on record about his family members’ roles in the company, his appearance was notable for what he refused to admit.

Dr. Sackler was summoned for questioning by attorneys for states that opposed the plan, in part because they thought Sackler would receive extensive legal protection in exchange for the $4.5 billion payment.

Dr. Sackler said in a conversation that he did not know how many Americans died from OxyContin. “As the chairman or president of an opioid company, didn’t you think it necessary to determine how many people died due to the use of that product?” asked Brian Edmunds, assistant attorney general of Maryland.

Dr. “As far as I know, this data is not available,” Sackler replied.

Trained as an internist, he was initially partly recruited by his father, Dr. Supervised by Raymond Sackler, Stamford, Conn. Embracing a career as a pharmaceutical executive at the company, Dr. Sackler is known for his dedication to Purdue’s operations. In his testimony Wednesday, Dr. Sackler talked about cycling with a Purdue sales rep in calls to doctors to increase sales. Dr. Sackler said sales staff are finally starting to focus their efforts on doctors who tend to prescribe higher doses. He acknowledged that higher doses of opioids could lead to more profits for the company.

During his tenure, Purdue has twice pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges related to the marketing and sale of OxyContin and has reached a settlement. Kentucky.

The lawsuits against Sacklers and Purdue, including one from 2001 cited in a Massachusetts complaint, were filed by Dr. He quoted numerous e-mails written by Sackler. “We must attack abusers in every way possible,” he wrote. “The criminals and they are the problem. They are reckless criminals.”

In 2019 the Sackler family contributed $75 million to Oklahoma as part of a larger agreement between the state and Purdue. In this case, a 2020 federal civil settlement Sacklers, family members did not admit that they were wrong.

Dr. “I can’t count all the settlements,” Sackler said. “There were many settlements, both private and public.”

Lawyers from Maryland, Washington State, and Connecticut were apparently trying to pull such pieces out to put them back together for an argument that the Sacklers were deeply involved in the Purdue business.

The settlement agreement negotiated by Purdue and Sacklers with states, tribes, local governments, and other beneficiaries will not only settle lawsuits, but will also provide the company with exemption from future civil claims, a condition granted to companies arising from bankruptcy restructuring.

But this plan will provide a similar shield to Sacklers, who has not filed for bankruptcy. The issue of such far-reaching legal protection for Sacklers triggered many remaining objections to the plan.

If the plan is approved, as expected, by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Drain for the Southern District of New York in White Plains, Sacklers cannot be pursued for any Purdue by those who object to the plan, even future plaintiffs. -related topics.

And this ban is not limited to opioid-related cases. Benjamin Higgins, attorney for the U.S. Trustee Program, a unit of the Justice Department that monitors bankruptcy cases, noted that Purdue, for example, has introduced a long-acting stimulant drug in recent years to relieve symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. He said that if any lawsuits related to that drug were considered, the Sacklers would also be immunized from them.

Dr. Sackler said he was not very familiar with the details of the sweeping disclosures stemming from the lawsuits that were at the center of the Purdue bankruptcy plan.

Dr. “This is an extremely dense document,” Sackler said. “I read a page or two and realized that this would take a lot of time.”

Given the complex nature of Sackler’s payments to a national opioid reduction fund, the contributions will be funded in part by what is expected to be the sale of family members to various pharmaceutical companies around the world.

“Will you personally contribute any of your own assets to settlement payments over the next nine or 10 years?” Dr. Sackler was asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I don’t believe that has been decided yet.”


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