Connecticut’s attorney general is adding more to an existing lawsuit against one of the companies accused of knowing about the opioid addiction crisis, and continuing to profit off of it.
Connecticut was already one of the states suing the Stamford-based Purdue Pharma for its alleged role in spreading the opioid epidemic, and now Attorney General William Tong is taking that case one step further, pointing the finger at companies controlled by the family in charge of Purdue, the Sacklers.
Tong is essentially widening the scope of the case the state is bringing against the company and the family, alleging that not only did company executives know the harm that their drug, OxyContin, was doing to millions across the country, but also that the family that runs Purdue Pharma was moving profits into other companies. All this, Tong alleges, happened while the company increased pressure on the company’s sales force to get the drug into as many people’s hands as possible.
Tong said Monday those who pushed the drugs to doctors and health care professionals also urged higher doses.
Those financial issues are perhaps the most significant, Tong said, because the company may attempt to file for bankruptcy as this multi-state lawsuit goes to trial.
"This company should have a lot more cash on hand but they don't because all of that money has been taken out and if they're going to go to a bankruptcy court and say, 'so sorry, we don't have cash to pay these judgments for which we are fully liable.' We're going to say back to that court, oh no judge, they took that money out already and you should go after the individual members of the Sackler family and claw that money back and we have every confidence that a court, a bankruptcy court, will do that,” Tong said.
Purdue Pharma is based out of Stamford, and some of the 16 individuals listed as defendants are Connecticut residents.
The attorney general says he’s not interested in a settlement – he wants to go to trial. Purdue Pharma has denied any wrongdoing.