Amid opioid crisis, Purdue Pharma's payments to Sacklers increased dramatically

Catherine Garcia

A new audit commissioned by Purdue Pharma found that during a time when more lawsuits were being filed against Purdue in connection with the opioid crisis, the Sackler family withdrew more than $10 billion from the company.

Members of the Sackler family have owned the company since the 1950s. Purdue's signature product, the opioid OxyContin, was approved in 1995, and the audit shows from 1995 to 2007, the company made $1.32 billion in payments to the family. From 2008 to 2017, when the company was under intense scrutiny for its alleged role in the opioid crisis, Purdue made $10.7 billion in payments. The audit shows that some of the money was moved to trusts and overseas holding companies, The New York Times reports.

More than 2,800 lawsuits have been filed against Purdue, and the Sackler family has said it will give at least $3 billion in cash as part of a settlement to resolve some of the suits filed by state and local governments. Purdue is going through a chapter 11 restructuring, and the report was filed in a New York bankruptcy court on Monday evening. In a statement, New York Attorney General Letitia James said investigators "must see detailed financial records showing how much the Sacklers profited from the nation's deadly opioid epidemic. We need full transparency into their total assets and must know whether they sheltered them in an effort to protect against creditors and victims."

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