Connecticut amends its filing against Purdue Pharma stating it will not allow the company to ‘cry poverty.’
Purdue Pharma is now attempting to “cry poverty” to avoid have to answer any further for its role in the nation’s opioid epidemic, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said as the state developed an even broader lawsuit against the maker of OxyContin. Tong filed an amended lawsuit that alleged “hundreds of millions of dollars were fraudulently transferred from Purdue Pharma to the Sacklers [in an attempt] to evade liability.” Connecticut is now seeking to get back some of those funds and “a court order to prevent any additional transfers of money.”
The amended lawsuit accusing Purdue of funneling billions of dollars to the Sacklers from the sale of opioids – at a minimum, $700 million a year from 2010 to 2020 – which Connecticut is still attempting to “claw back” to make available to pay court judgments or settlements. Because of this new information, the state has added a charge of fraudulent transfer of funds.
“So they were on notice that we were going to hold them responsible or someone was going to hold them responsible for the tremendous financial cost of the addiction crisis fueled in part by Purdue Pharma and its owners and executives, and with that notice…they took billions of dollars out of the company, which were looted and siphoned into trusts and entities controlled by individual defendants, including members of the Sackler family,” Tong said.
He added, “We will not allow Purdue Pharma to cry poverty after illegally transferring hundreds of millions of dollars to members of the Sackler family – unearned funds these individuals reaped as Connecticut families suffered…They pursued profits – financial gain – over the incredible and frankly, immeasurable, human toll and human cost of the opioid and addiction crisis. Our investigation has left no room for doubt – Purdue and the Sacklers ignored all human cost while pushing deadly opioids in blind pursuit of profit.”
Connecticut filed a lawsuit against Purdue back in December 2018 alleging the company and the family behind it pushed patients toward OxyContin despite having knowledge that its “bread and butter” drug was highly addictive and contributing to the opioid crisis. Recently, the company settled its first lawsuit in a multitude of litigation against it with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million. Illinois’ attorney general, Kwame Raoul, also filed a lawsuit against Purdue in April.
Purdue and the Sacklers pushed a false narrative telling doctors that addiction was “not caused by drugs” but instead was the result of “susceptible individuals,” Connecticut’s amended filing states. The state has also alleged “Purdue insisted patients suffered from ‘pseudoaddiction’ caused by inadequate dosage. To treat it, the lawsuit said doctors needed to up the dosage.”
“Purdue Pharma and the individual former directors of the company vigorously deny the allegations filed…in Connecticut and will continue to defend themselves against these misleading attacks,” said company spokesperson Robert Josephson. “We believe that no pharmaceutical manufacturer has done more to address the opioid addiction crisis than Purdue, and we continue to work closely with governments and law enforcement agencies on this difficult social issue.”
Addressing all of the lawsuits filed against it, Purdue accused states of “cherry-picking the most damning information” from a host of internal documents it had been housing for a number of years. It said doing so as not allowed for an accurate representation of its internal processes.