Twenty-five State attorneys have signed a letter opposing any settlements between the Justice Department and Purdue Pharmaceutical, Oxycontin’s manufacturers.
Purdue, owned by the infamous Sackler family, is preparing to settle a lawsuit with dozens of cities and counties across the United States. The suit itself is over their aggressive marketing and obfuscation with their addictive drug Oxycontin.
The Argument Against the Settlement
The attorneys say that the settlement does more harm than good. By forcing the state to oversee the settlement, the settlement will “improperly entangle state and local officials with future sales of the company’s addictive pain drug OxyContin.” The Justice Department has stipulated that Purdue transforms itself into a “public benefit company.” By becoming such an establishment, it would be run “on behalf” of the cities, states, and counties who are suing it.
The company, therefore, would need to keep up profit and distribute it to the beneficiaries of the lawsuit, essentially turning the government into an operations manager as well.
The State attorneys say that the company needs to be sold to the highest bidder. This way, the beneficiaries of the lawsuit can move on. They can get the money they are owed from the auction, not from the profits of the same drugs that killed people.
Billionaires Getting Special Treatment?
The State attorneys are also questioning why the Sacklers seem to be getting special treatment. In the settlement, a $2 billion criminal forfeiture could be waived. Rather than pay that fee to the communities it harmed, Sackler could “reinvest” that money instead. All of the funds will essentially be sent from the business’s coffers and depend on Purdue staying in place.
Instead, the communities themselves would supervise Oxycontin’s sales, the very drug they have been trying to get out of their communities. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,
“If DOJ insists the Sacklers get their way and their OxyContin business is elevated into a public trust, Americans will question whether billionaires bought special treatment in this case, while working families across the country suffered,” the attorneys wrote in their letter to Barr.