America’s 19th richest family, the Sackler clan, made unfathomable wealth by flooding the world with OxyContin, triggering an opioid addiction crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands.
They now appear poised to keep the vast majority of their estimated $ 13 billion fortune if a controversial settlement, backed by the judge presiding over a key bankruptcy case, is accepted by a Trump White House that is reportedly eager to declare some form of bankruptcy. “Victory” over Big Pharma before the election.
The New Yorker reports that the Sacklers, who own Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, have said they will pay states guaranteed $ 3 billion to help address the costs of the opioid crisis, but only if they are not criminally responsible.
The magazine reports that family members have systematically transferred billions of dollars out of Purdue Pharma, placing liquidity overseas and beyond the reach of U.S. officials as bankruptcy proceedings unfold.
The family also offered to allow future income from the sale of OxyContin to go to compensation funds, which the company says could total billions of dollars. Critics claim that offering to remedy the problem caused by their drug by continuing to sell it is breathtaking.
In court documents seen by The New Yorker, the Sackler family says they will make the payment if released from “any potential federal liability arising out of or relating to opioid-related activities.”
The presiding judge urged states to consider accepting the settlement rather than seeing the funds swallowed up by legal fees.
The New Yorker reports that, behind the scenes, “attorneys for Purdue and its owners quietly negotiated with Donald Trump’s Justice Department to resolve all the various federal inquiries into a comprehensive settlement, which would likely involve a fine, but no charges against individual leaders.
Author Patrick Radden Keefe writes that “several lawyers” have told him that “members of the Trump administration have been working to finalize the deal before election day. The administration will likely present such a settlement as a major victory against Big Pharma – and as yet another “kept promise” at the Trump base.
However, critics argue that such a regulation will allow the Sacklers to effectively store billions of dollars by inappropriately pushing OxyContin into communities for decades.
A lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who described OxyContin as the “taproot” of the opioid epidemic, alleges the Sacklers siphoned money from Purdue and left it behind. transferred abroad.
The New Yorker reports that when the drugmaker filed for bankruptcy, it had cash and assets of only $ 1 billion; however, in a deposition, one of the company’s own experts said the Sacklers mined as much as $ 13 billion from Purdue.
A total of 47 states are suing the drug maker; 29 named members of the Sackler family as defendants. In documents filed as part of the bankruptcy proceeding, States said Purdue contributed to a public health crisis that has claimed the lives of approximately 450,000 people since 1999, and cited more than 200,000 deaths in the States. United directly linked to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2016.
A representative for the Sackler family said The New Yorker: “Our hearts are with those affected by drug addiction and addiction. The increase in the number of opioid-related deaths is mainly due to illicit heroin and fentanyl smuggled by drug traffickers into the United States from China and Mexico. “
They said documents would show that “the Sackler family acted ethically and responsibly at all times.”
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