Documents Reveal Just How Involved Sackler Family Was In Aggressive OxyContin Marketing Techniques
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has drawn blame for its role in igniting the opioid crisis in the country. Now new documents show how the family that owns the company was involved with the decisions to aggressively push opioids on to patients in the years leading up to the epidemic, even though Purdue seeks to portray the family members as removed from day-to-day operations.
The New York Times:
Sacklers Directed Efforts To Mislead Public About OxyContin, New Documents Indicate
Members of the Sackler family, which owns the company that makes OxyContin, directed years of efforts to mislead doctors and patients about the dangers of the powerful opioid painkiller, a court filing citing previously undisclosed documents contends. (Meier, 1/15)
New Details Revealed About Purdue's Marketing Of OxyContin
As questions were raised about the risk of addiction and overdoses that came with taking OxyContin and opioid medications, Sackler outlined a strategy that critics have long accused the company of unleashing: divert the blame onto others, particularly the people who became addicted to opioids themselves. “We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible,” Sackler wrote in an email in February 2001. “They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.” (Joseph, 1/15)
The Wall Street Journal:
Purdue Pharma Family Had Heavy Hand In Opioid Marketing, Complaint Says
The complaint, using information culled from company emails, presentations and handwritten notes, suggests Richard Sackler and other Sackler family members at times influenced the marketing of the company’s opioids, including its signature drug OxyContin. Those actions include Sackler family members poring over detailed sales reports, pressing its sales force to improve numbers and even attending sales pitches themselves, according to the complaint. Company staff informed the Sacklers about opioid-related deaths and other addiction issues, the complaint says, as well as doctors prescribing pills inappropriately. (Randazzo and Hopkins, 1/15)
The Associated Press:
Filing: OxyContin Maker Forecast 'Blizzard Of Prescriptions'
The details were made public in a case brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey that accuses Purdue Pharma, its executives and members of the Sackler family of deceiving patients and doctors about the risks of opioids and pushing prescribers to keep patients on the drug longer. The documents provide information about former Purdue Pharma President Richard Sackler's role in overseeing sales of OxyContin that hasn't been public before. The drug and the closely held Connecticut company that sells it are at the center of a lawsuit in Massachusetts and hundreds of others across the country in which government entities are trying to find the drug industry responsible for an opioid crisis that killed 72,000 Americans in 2017. The Massachusetts litigation is separate from some 1,500 federal lawsuits filed by governments being overseen by a judge in Cleveland. (Richer and Mulvihill, 1/15)
Mass. AG Implicates Family Behind Purdue Pharma In Opioid Deaths
Healey describes former Purdue Chairman and President Richard Sackler as a micro-manager, obsessed with profits in Massachusetts and the rest of the country. Tracking national sales, Sackler demanded he travel to doctor’s offices alongside reps and complained advertising about the opioids wasn’t as positive as he wanted. Internally, execs worried about Sackler’s promotion of opioids, according to Healey. (Willmsen and Bebinger, 1/15)