Family That Made Billions Off Opioid Crisis Sued by New York

The Sackler family has made billions of dollars from Purdue Pharma, which produces the infamous Oxycontin pain killer. And now, the State of New York is coming after those billions. With the opioid crisis killing thousands of individuals each year and creating an economic burden of $78.5 billion annually, New York is looking for the Sacklers to pay.

The State of New York alleges that the Sackler family has intentionally been funneling income to offshore entities in an attempt to shield their wealth from litigation and other issues. New York prosecutors further allege that the family engaged in systemic fraud to distribute and profit off of sales of its opioids.

The allegations go beyond Purdue Pharma. Cardinal Health, McKesson and Amerisource Bergen have been accused of working with pharmacies to manipulate timing and volume to circumvent legal mandates. The distributors also warned pharmacies ahead of time when they were going to conduct a “surprise” audit.

Eight individual Sacklers have been named in the suit: Richard, Jonathan, Mortimer, Kathe, David, Beverly, and Theresa Sackler, and Ilene Sackler Lefcourt. The Sackler family is estimated to be worth some $13 billion dollars. That vast fortune, however, may be at risk. And Sackler family donations to art museums have been declined by the likes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other museums in/around New York City.

Purdue Pharma likewise has been facing numerous legal issues. Just last week, Purdue Pharma settled a $270 million dollar lawsuit with the state of Oklahoma. Other states and organizations are also suing Purdue Pharma and with the precedence already set, the company’s prospects look dim.

The opioid crisis has claimed over 200,000 lives and has ravaged many rural, poor areas across the United States. The midwest and south, in particular, have been hit hard.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is a political consultant and has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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