The Sackler family, whose company, Purdue Pharma, stands accused of fueling the opioid epidemic allegedly wanted to sell OxyContin without any warnings or regulations in foreign countries, new court documents suggest.
But Oxycontin’s inventor allegedly warned them that doing so would be extremely dangerous, flying in the face of the family’s continued denials that they knew how addictive and potentially deadly the drug was.
Evidence of these events and other damning details came to light in the 274-page pre-hearing filing for the state of Massachusetts’s suit against the Sacklers.
Massachusetts is one of dozens of state suing the Purdue Pharma and the family behind it for getting millions of people addicted to opioids via its blockbuster painkiller, OxyContin.
New Yorker writer Patrick Radden Keefe, who wrote a scathing profile of the family for the magazine, spotted the evidence that the Sackler family wanted the drug sold unregulated – and had been warned of the dangers by Purdue scientists.
The massive filing also contained evidence that, contrary to the Sackler family’s claims, they did know their drug could lead to an addiction and overdose crisis, and even tried to distance themselves from the company ahead of the coming legal storm.
About 75 percent of people with an opioid misuse disorder were first exposed to the addictive substances through prescription opioids – namely, Oxycontin.
Its maker, Purdue Pharma was purchased by brothers Arthur, Raymond and Mortimer Sackler, the co-founders of the company in its present form.
With it, they acquired a compound in development that would become OxyContin, which was launched in 1996.