Fri, 10/16/2020 – 15:30
A coalition of 25 state attorneys general say a deal being negotiated between the Justice Department (DOJ) and Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family, who own the company, would inappropriately link state and local officials with future sales of the company’s oxycodone (OxyContin). In a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the coalition objected to DOJ’s requirement that Purdue be turned into a “public benefit company” that would be run on behalf of thousands of U.S. communities suing the company and Sackler family members. The attorneys general warned the entity would channel proceeds from continued sales of oxycodone to those litigants, which include multiple state and local governments. Such an arrangement “compromises the proper roles of the private sector and government” as officials seek to hold accountable the alleged perpetrators of the opioid crisis, according to the correspondence. They also say Purdue should be sold to a private buyer, noting that an unidentified potential buyer for the company has already emerged. The objections of the coalition—which includes attorneys general from Massachusetts, New York, and California—could hamper negotiations to resolve DOJ’s investigation as well as thousands of lawsuits alleging Purdue and Sackler family members aggressively marketed prescription opioids while downplaying their risks.