Sackler Family and Purdue Pharma Face Lawsuits Over Role in Opioid Crisis

Animated graphic of opioids.

In 2017, opioids killed over 47,600 Americans, a large portion of whom died from legally regulated prescription painkillers. For a long time, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has been at the center of this escalating opioid crisis; however, for the first time in hundreds of lawsuits across 35 states, the family who owns and operates the pharma giant has had the spotlight shone directly on them. In a complaint filed on January 31, 2019 by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey that spans nearly 300 pages, specific members of the Sackler family stand accused of directly encouraging company sales reps to mislead doctors and coax patients into taking higher amounts of opioids to the tune of billions.

The Blame Game in the Opioid Crisis

As they have in hundreds of other lawsuits, Purdue has denied the allegations in the Massachusetts AG’s complaint, characterizing them as “vilification” of the Sackler family. In a response from Healey, she noted the absence of a denial, conceding that these allegations needed time to work their way through courts and the evidentiary process. Purdue and other pharma companies have been in the regulatory and legislative crosshairs more and more recently, as deaths continue to mount. The Sackler family has a combined fortune estimated by Forbes of over $13 billion, and have a decades-long history of philanthropic affiliations with organizations like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and multiple universities across the country.

Identifying Stakeholders in the Opioid Crisis

As the opioid crisis continues to escalate, it’s critical that we identify culpable parties and hold them to account. This includes prescribing physicians, pharma companies, legislators and all others whose efforts or lack thereof have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans over the last ten years. Recovery Unplugged offers comprehensive, safe and compassionate addiction treatment for those who have been ensnared by the opioid crisis. Get the help you need today.