PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon’s attorney general has filed a new lawsuit against the maker of prescription opioid painkiller OxyContin, this time targeting the company’s owners.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum alleges in a suit announced Thursday that Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma and eight members of the Sackler family took billions of dollars out of the company.
Rosenblum says they transferred the money to their own accounts and continued to illegally market OxyContin. She says they have known for 20 years that OxyContin was addictive and deadly.
In April, the Sackler family said that a lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts attorney general that accuses Purdue Pharma and the family of hiding the risks of opioids is riddled with inaccurate and misleading statements.
The lawsuits are among some 2,000 filed in the past few years seeking to hold the drug industry responsible for a deadly national opioid crisis.
Oregon had originally filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, which was settled in 2007. At that time, Rosenblum alleged, the company was afraid lawsuits and civil investigations would bring it down, and it began taking funds out of the company and putting them into personal accounts.
Rosenblum alleges that the Sackler family set up “a massive network of shell companies and subsidiaries” to which they transferred money from the company. She alleges that they starved the company of funds and stunted its growth.
“Over the past decade, the destruction that OxyContin has caused has skyrocketed - and it is clear we must go even further to ensure this company is held to account for its egregious misconduct, including violating their 2007 negotiated agreement,” Rosenblum said in a statement.
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