A House committee is investigating Purdue Pharma and billionaire family’s role in an epidemic that has killed almost 500,000 Americans.
The Guardian – Two of a group of billionaire Sackler family members that own Purdue Pharma, the US pharmaceutical manufacturer of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, refused to apologize for their role in the opioids crisis that has killed almost half a million Americans, during a hearing in Washington on Thursday.
Kathe Sackler and David Sackler, former board members of Purdue, both said sorry for the pain endured by individuals suffering from addiction and those who lost loved ones to overdoses, but they avoided admitting any personal culpability.
It was the first time members of the family faced such public scrutiny in person for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic.
The Democrat Jim Cooper of Tennessee, a member of the House of Representatives oversight committee questioning the two at the online hearing, said that watching the pair testify made his “blood boil”.
“I’m not sure I know of any family in America that is more evil than yours,” Cooper said.
Purdue Pharma last month pleaded guilty in federal court to three criminal charges related to conspiring to mislead regulators and paying illegal kickbacks to doctors and others aimed at pushing higher sales of the addictive narcotic.
The drug’s active ingredient oxycodone derives from opium poppies.
The company also pleaded guilty and was fined in a 2007 criminal case, admitting misbranding the drug as safe when it was not, but escaped heavy consequences and significantly increased sales of the drug in subsequent years.
No individual Sacklers have been charged with crimes but six family members, including Kathe and David, and their company, have been sued by cities, counties and states across the US.
They are accused of orchestrating and knowingly pushing deceptive practices to boost sales of OxyContin while misleading prescribers and the public about the risks of addiction and death.
The House committee hearing is part of a congressional investigation into “the role of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family in the opioid epidemic” …
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