OPIOID SCANDAL: Powerful Sackler Family Under Massive Legal Assault

New York Lawsuit Claims Sackler Family Illegally Profited From Opioid Epidemic

New York on Thursday sued the billionaire Sackler family behind OxyContin, joining a growing list of state and local governments alleging the family’s company, Purdue Pharma, sparked the nation’s opioid crisis by putting hunger for profits over patient safety.
Jessica Hill/AP

Brian Mann

New York state Attorney General Letitia James leveled the fiercest legal broadside yet against the Sackler family, owners of the privately-held Purdue Pharma which makes the powerful prescription painkiller Oxycontin.

A civil suit filed Thursday accuses eight members of the family of personally contributing to the deadly opioid epidemic, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans over the last two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At a press conference, James described the Sacklers as “masterminds” of an illegal scheme that “literally profited off of the suffering and death” of New Yorkers and others around the U.S.

“This lawsuit contains detailed allegations about the Sackler family and their attempt to hide the vast fortunes they collected at the expense of actual lives,” she added.

State officials hope to force the Sacklers to forfeit some of that wealth — estimated as high as $13 billion, according to Forbes — to help pay the cost of curbing the addiction epidemic that still claims more than 130 lives every day.


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