clearn.png
Saturday September 25th, 2021 9:16PM

Family members who own Purdue to appear before Congress

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Two members of the Sackler family who own OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma agreed to appear this week before a congressional committee investigating the family and the company's role in the national opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.

Thursday's hearing before the House Oversight Committee will be the first time in years that any member of the wealthy family would take questions in public from an official body, and could be a watershed moment in the long legal and political battles over the opioid crisis, which has been linked to 470,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000.

The committee scheduled and then canceled a hearing earlier this month after family members would not commit to appearing. But last week, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the New York Democrat who chairs the committee, announced it was on again and wrote a scathing letter to their lawyers.

“Your clients have not agreed to testify at a hearing before the Committee at any time — ever. As a result, it appears that your clients are not engaging in this process in good faith,” Maloney wrote, threatening to issue subpoenas that would force them to appear.

Ultimately, family members worked out a deal. David Sackler, who served on the Purdue board from 2012 until 2018, and Kathe Sackler, who served on it from 1990 until 2018, when family members exited the board, are scheduled to appear at the hearing, which will be conducted by video conference because of coronavirus pandemic precautions. Company CEO Craig Landau has also agreed to participate.

In a statement, Purdue said it is committed to addressing the opioid crisis through its proposed settlement in bankruptcy court, which would provide billions of dollars to communities, addiction treatment, overdose reversal medications and other measures. A representative for Kathe Sackler declined to comment. One for David Sackler did not return a message.

Members of the family have been cast by activists and officials as prime villains in the country's opioid crisis who need to be held accountable for seeking profits from drugs that were leading to addictions and overdoses.

Purdue, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is owned by the descendants of Raymond and Mortimer Sackler. They bought the company in the 1950s along with a third brother, Arthur, who pioneered pharmaceutical advertising and became wealthy partly by promoting Valium, another addictive drug.

By the time OxyContin was launched in the 1990s, Arthur Sackler’s family had sold out their share in Purdue. His descendants emphasize that they have not profited from OxyContin.

Purdue started selling OxyContin, a time-release version of oxycodone, in 1996, and it became a pharmaceutical blockbuster used to treat a variety of types of pain. Its sales were fueled by a years-long campaign to persuade doctors that unlike other opioids, it had a low incidence of addiction.

But that message, pushed by doctors who were paid speaking fees and pain patient advocacy groups funded by Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies, was not true.

The company and the family have been under scrutiny for decades. The company and three of its executives pleaded guilty in 2007 to misleading the public about OxyContin’s risk of addiction and paid $635 million in fines.

Sales continued after that. So did overdoses, though the majority of opioid deaths since then have been linked to heroin and illicit fentanyl rather than prescription opioids.

The industry has faced a legal reckoning in recent years. Purdue and a host of drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains have been sued by nearly 3,000 state and local governments.

Members of the Sackler family are named as defendants in many of them. According to a court filing last year, they made between $12 billion and $13 billion from the company before taxes.

Last year, Purdue entered a tentative settlement and has been trying to complete it through bankruptcy court. The deal calls for the family to give up ownership of Purdue, which would be turned into a public benefit corporation with its proceeds going to combat the addiction crisis.

Under the deal, family members would also pay at least $3 billion in cash over time. Most Democratic state attorneys general oppose the settlement, saying they want more accountability for Sackler family members.

Last month, the company pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges as part of a deal to settle claims with the federal government. The agreement did not result in criminal claims against Sackler family members, but left open the possibility that some could be brought.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Which winter sports are safest to play during COVID-19?
To stay physically active this winter while limiting the risk of coronavirus infections, experts suggest activities you do alone or with members of your household
3:01AM ( 5 hours ago )
Pandemic prompts scaled back Christmas tradition in Alaska
Operation Santa Claus looked a little bit different this year in rural Alaska as COVID-19 safety precautions pared back the annual Alaska National Guard tradition
12:25AM ( 7 hours ago )
Obama-era program for immigrants faces new court challenge
A federal court will consider whether to invalidate a program that shields from deportation immigrants brought to the United States as children, potentially creating complications for the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden
10:39PM ( 9 hours ago )
U.S. News
Germany: EU agency will OK coronavirus vaccine by Dec. 23
Germany’s health minister says he has received assurances that European regulators will approve a coronavirus vaccine by Dec. 23
7:49AM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Fauci says vaccinate Biden, Harris, Trump, Pence
Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris should be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible
7:32AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Germany demands EU agency approve vaccine before Christmas
Germany is increasing the pressure on the European Union’s regulatory agency, with its health minister, a leading hospital association and lawmakers all demanding that the agency approve a coronavirus vaccine before Christmas
7:24AM ( 40 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'Democracy prevailed': Biden aims to unify divided nation
President-elect Joe Biden has pointedly criticized President Donald Trump for threatening core principles of democracy even as he told Americans that their form of self-government ultimately “prevailed.”
6:31AM ( 1 hour ago )
Democrats squeezed as COVID-19 relief talks continue
Top Washington negotiators continue to reach for a long-delayed agreement on COVID-19 relief, but rank-and-file Democrats appear increasingly resigned to having to drop a demand for fiscal relief for states and local governments whose budgets have been thrown out of balance by the pandemic
6:28AM ( 1 hour ago )
Electoral College makes it official: Biden won, Trump lost
The Electoral College has formally confirmed that Joe Biden will be the nation’s next president, giving him a solid electoral majority of 306 votes to affirm his victory in last month’s election
6:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
World shares mixed as investors eye vaccines, US stimulus
Shares have opened higher in Europe after a lackluster day in Asia as investors wait to see if Congress can break a logjam on delivering more aid to people, businesses and local governments affected by the coronavirus pandemic
4:21AM ( 3 hours ago )
Asian shares decline following lackluster day on Wall Street
Asian shares are lower after a lackluster day on Wall Street as investors wait to see if Congress can break a logjam on delivering more aid to people, businesses and local governments affected by the coronavirus pandemic
2:33AM ( 5 hours ago )
In a first, leading Republicans call Biden president-elect
For the first time, a groundswell of leading Republicans say Democrat Joe Biden is the winner of the presidential election
12:07AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Biden clears 270-vote mark as electors affirm his victory
Presidential electors have given Joe Biden a majority of their votes, formalizing his victory in last month’s election
6:19PM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: California pushes Biden to Electoral College win
California has cast the state’s 55 electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden, formally cementing the Democrat’s victory over President Donald Trump
5:48PM ( 14 hours ago )
Crunch time for COVID-19 relief as bipartisan bills unveiled
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is unveiling a proposal for COVID-19 relief as Congress searches for a final agreement
5:22PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Australian PM says China coal ban would breach WTO rules
Australia’s prime minister says that China would be violating World Trade Organization rules and a bilateral free trade agreement if it banned Australian coal
4:34AM ( 3 hours ago )
UK sees record number of job losses during 3- month period
The number of people in the U.K. who lost their jobs hit a record high in the three months through October during the run-up to the planned ending of a government salary support scheme
4:14AM ( 3 hours ago )
Japan space agency finds ample soil, gas from asteroid
Japan’s space agency officials say they have found more than the anticipated amount of soil and gases inside a small capsule the country’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft brought back from a distant asteroid this month, a mission they praised as a milestone for planetary research
3:02AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
Which winter sports are safest to play during COVID-19?
To stay physically active this winter while limiting the risk of coronavirus infections, experts suggest activities you do alone or with members of your household
3:01AM ( 5 hours ago )
Pandemic prompts scaled back Christmas tradition in Alaska
Operation Santa Claus looked a little bit different this year in rural Alaska as COVID-19 safety precautions pared back the annual Alaska National Guard tradition
12:25AM ( 7 hours ago )
Obama-era program for immigrants faces new court challenge
A federal court will consider whether to invalidate a program that shields from deportation immigrants brought to the United States as children, potentially creating complications for the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden
10:39PM ( 9 hours ago )
'Healing is coming': US health workers start getting vaccine
The largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history is underway with health workers getting the first shots on the same day the nation’s COVID-19 death toll hit a staggering 300,000
7:59PM ( 12 hours ago )
EXPLAINER: What to know about COVID-19 vaccination in the US
The first shots of COVID-19 vaccine are being delivered in the U.S., but it will likely be months before doses are available for everyone
5:44PM ( 14 hours ago )