Sackler Family Member Denies Improper Transfers of Purdue Funds

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FormerPurdue Pharma Director David Sackler, in testimony to U.S. lawmakers, denied claims that his family improperly shifted billions of dollars from sales of the controversial opioid-based painkiller OxyContin to off-shore accounts.

Sackler, the son of ex-Purdue President Richard Sackler, told aU.S. House of Representatives committee Thursday only a “very small amount” of money moved out of the family owned drugmaker by the Sacklers wound up in foreign banks, and those transactions shouldn’t raise questions.

“The transfers you are referring to have been identified as legally appropriate and disclosed,” Sackler said under questioning by Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat and chair of theHouse Oversight Committee. David and his cousin,Kathe Sackler, agreed to testify before the committee along with current Purdue Chief Executive Officer Craig Landau.

The issue of what happened to at least $10 billion in distributions from Purdue to members of the billionaire Sackler family is a hot topic among some state attorneys general who oppose the company’s proposal for resolving all opioid lawsuits against it.

Under a deal proposed as part of Purdue’s bankruptcy case, the family would no longer own the company. A group of state attorneys general and opioid victims are objecting to having governments forced to get into the drug business to generate funds to beef up opioid-treatment programs and want the Sacklers to personally put up more money under the $10 billion deal.

States and municipalities sued Purdue and other makers and distributors of opioids in hopes of recouping billions spent dealing with the fallout from the public-health crisis. More than 400,000 Americans have died in opioid-related deaths over the last 20 years.

State and municipal officials contend there’s evidence some of the Sacklers may have “committed crimes in operating Purdue,” and the governments are pushing for the release of confidential documents to aid in their probes of the family’s role in OxyContin’s marketing and billions in profits. The family denies wrongdoing.

The company pleaded guilty to three felonies tied to OxyContin marketing and agreed to pay $8.3 billion to resolve a government probe into Purdue’s handling of the highly addictive opioid painkiller. The Sacklers also agreed to pay $225 million to settle potential civil claims tied to that marketing.

During the hearing, Maloney asked Landau, Purdue’s current top executives, to identify the individuals who planned and carried out the illegal OxyContin marketing efforts. “Crimes were committed,” the lawmaker said. “Who committed these crimes?” Landau didn’t answer the question specifically.

The case is Purdue Pharma LP, 19-23649, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (White Plains).

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