Purdue Pharma and three executives pleaded guilty in 2007 and taking part in misleading the public about the risks of OxyContin. The Sacklers, who own the company, began to drain money from the company shortly after, according to the BBC.
Between 2008 and 2017, the family transferred about $10.7 billion out of Purdue Pharma. The amount of money greatly exceeds withdrawals that the family made – $1.3 billion – between 1995 and 2007.
Lawsuits Threaten the Company’s Survival
In the past nine years, states, cities, and counties have started to sue Purdue for their misdeeds. At last, most of the lawsuits were added together in court. Now U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain of White Plains, New York, will soon decide to decide whether to approve a $12 billion settlement.
The payout would cover more than 2,700 lawsuits over its role in the opioid addiction crisis. The payout will potentially bankrupt the company, but they still have pharmaceutical companies that may remain unaffected and do business overseas.
On May 10, 2007, an affiliate of Purdue Pharma, along with three company executives, pled guilty to criminal charges. Accused of marketing OxyContin by claiming that it was less addictive than other pain medications, they were found guilty in court and paid $634 million in fines.
In 2008, the family began quietly taking their money out of the company’s coffers.
Purdue’s and Sacklers Legacy of Opioid Pushing
In the court cases, Purdue was caught making videos pushing titration. Marketing executives paid doctors to go out to dinner in Las Vegas and hold conferences, specifically selling the drug.
Discovery also revealed how executives, including the Sacklers and their friends, mocked people who became addicted to Oxycontin.
By the Numbers: Opioids Are Still A Public Health Crisis
The opioid crisis has not ended.
70,237 drug overdose deaths from Oxycontin occurred in the United States in 2017, and more alarmingly, overdoses of opioids in general, rose from 18,515 deaths in 2007 to 47,600 deaths in 2017, according to the CDC. Fentanyl, heroin, and methadone all factor into these numbers. Many people addicted to one opioid will seek out another when they can’t get their drug of choice.
What Happens Next?
Purdue has many assets, but the lawsuit is expected t bankrupt the corporation. The family themselves may scrape by with a few billion dollars and a tarnished image. It’s not clear if they feel any guilt or responsibility at all for the lives crushed by Oxycontin addiction.