California Attorney General announces appeal of Purdue bankruptcy plan, seeks to hold Sackler family accountable for role in opioid crisis

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September 26, 2021 – OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced last Friday that he would appeal the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy reorganization plan, which a New York bankruptcy court approved on September 17. Through their ownership and control of Purdue, the members of the Sackler family have made billions of dollars profiting from the sale of OxyContin, a potent prescription opioid and a key contributor to the current public health crisis of opioids. Despite this, in return for a monetary contribution to the reorganization plan, the plan includes extensive third-party versions for the Sackler family. Without admission of liability, these releases grant the Sacklers lifelong immunity from any future civil liability related to the opioid crisis, preventing states like California from holding them accountable. In July, the attorney general’s office joined a coalition of state attorneys general in opposing the plan.

“We are appealing the bankruptcy plan because the Sackler family must be held accountable for their role in creating and fueling the devastating opioid crisis” said Attorney General Bonta. “Too many California communities have unfairly paid the price for their willful misconduct, and this bankruptcy plan falls short of the responsibility families affected by this epidemic deserve. My office remains committed to holding the Sacklers accountable and providing much needed relief to our communities. “

In 2019, the attorney general’s office prosecuted Purdue and members of the Sackler family for illegal practices of promoting and selling opioids. The lawsuit alleged that Purdue’s deceptive marketing and sales practices, endorsed by the Sackler family, played a major role in contributing to the national opioid crisis. Deceptive sales and marketing practices, which have misled health care providers and patients about the addictive nature of opioids, have contributed to an oversupply of opioids in the market and helped create the crisis in opioids. which we are facing today.

Even after Purdue and a number of its executives pleaded guilty to poor branding of OxyContin, the company continued to sell and market the drug. Their revenues were $ 3 billion in 2010 and up to $ 1.8 billion in 2017.

Opioids have been the main contributor to drug overdose deaths in the United States. According to California Department of Public Health, there were 5,363 opioid overdose-related deaths in California in 2020.
Source: CA.DOJ


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