In a recent lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General, the Sackler family is alleged to have built a huge fortune off of the production of OxyContin. This opiate drug is known to be highly addictive within a short amount of using the prescription painkiller. OxyContin addiction has often lead to people buying similar drugs off the street, some of which have been contaminated by the animal tranquilizer fentanyl, which is deadly in minute doses. Overdoses and deaths related to Oxycontin and fentanyl have skyrocketed over the past six years.
In the Massachusetts lawsuit, Attorney General Maura Healey found that in 2013, Purdue Pharma paid the Sackler family $400 million from its profits of selling OxyContin. Those profits were from the first three quarters of the calendar year. During the fourth quarter, profits from OxyContin decreased. At this time, the Sackler family is alleged to have pushed Purdue Pharma to increase the pressure of its sales representatives on doctors and hospitals to prescribe more of the addictive drug.
Purdue Pharma followed up on this by hiring a consulting firm. The consultants targeted doctors who wrote the highest numbers of prescriptions for OxyContin. Many of those physicians were located in the state of Massachusetts. After getting more visits from the pharmaceutical sales representatives, one doctor wrote 167 more OxyContin prescriptions.
Between 2008 and 2016, the Sackler family was paid more than $4 billion by Purdue Pharma. The lawsuit charges that the Sackler family has profited from the injury, addiction and death of people who were prescribed OxyContin by their doctors. Eight members of the Sackler family who have served on the board of Purdue Pharma as well as other members of the company’s board have been specifically named in the lawsuit. A judge on the case demanded that Purdue Pharma release its sales records. Purdue Pharma requested that its release be allowed to include redactions. The judge declined that appeal, forcing Purdue Pharma to release its records in full.
The lawsuit is ongoing in the Suffolk County Superior Court, which is located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is just one lawsuit of several hundred filed against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family by state attorneys general from across the United States. The states are attempting to recover some of the funds they have spent on emergency care, police response and addiction treatment for people who have taken or been harmed by OxyContin.