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After Pleading Guilty and Paying $8 Billion Fine, Oxycontin Makers Claim Innocence in Opioid Crisis

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A branch of the scandal-hit Sackler family, also known as the Lady Macbeth of American corporatism, has launched a website to deny claims that it is largely to blame for fueling the opioid crisis.

The website, Judge for Yourselves, claims that “unsubstantiated allegations” unfairly targeted the family and that the family acted “ethically and lawfully” while on the board of Purdue Pharma.

There is a catch: The website fails to mention that the company pled guilty to participating in fraud and kickbacks.

It also ignores the fact that Purdue Pharma is currently seeking bankruptcy to restructure itself so that it might pay off billions in damages over the coming decade, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, under the bankruptcy plan, the Sackler family will personally pay $4.28 billion for the privilege of cutting ties with the company, effectively gaining immunity from the literally thousands of civil lawsuits against them, per The Wall Street Journal.

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So, to get this all straight, the family that ran the company that admitted it lied and profited from pumping American communities full of big pharma death wants you to know that it is sadly misunderstood.

Could this possibly be true?

In a word: unlikely.

Take a statement on the case released by the Department of Justice back in November.

“The criminal and civil resolutions, which were announced on Oct. 21, 2020, do not include the criminal release of any individuals, including members of the Sackler family, nor are any of the company’s executives or employees receiving civil releases,” the statement read.

Are the Sacklers victims of a smear campaign?

Or, perhaps this statement of charges against the Sacklers by the Department of Justice gets more to the point.

“[I]ndividual members of the Sackler family will pay the United States $225 million arising from the alleged conduct of Dr. Richard Sackler, David Sackler, Mortimer D.A. Sackler, Dr. Kathe Sackler, and Jonathan Sackler (the Named Sacklers). This settlement resolves allegations that, in 2012, the Named Sacklers knew that the legitimate market for Purdue’s opioids had contracted,” the statement read.

“Nevertheless, they requested that Purdue executives recapture lost sales and increase Purdue’s share of the opioid market. The Named Sacklers then approved a new marketing program beginning in 2013 called ‘Evolve to Excellence,’ through which Purdue sales representatives intensified their marketing of OxyContin to extreme, high-volume prescribers who were already writing ’25 times as many OxyContin scripts’ as their peers, causing health care providers to prescribe opioids for uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary, and that often led to abuse and diversion.”

And there’s the rub.

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Despite the Sackler family’s claim that they are but the humble victims of a vast and tawdry smear campaign, the fact remains that many of their clan blatantly used fraud to pump already fraught communities full of deadly and addictive pharmaceuticals that had no place being prescribed at the rate they were anyway.

To be fair, the website was created by the family of Raymond Sackler who, to his eternal credit, was not one of the dreaded “Named Sacklers,” and to this end, it may be that the Sackler family is yet one more instance of the left hand working without knowledge of the right.

Or, perhaps, just maybe, this is the latest attempt by yet another elite American family to re-establish its credibility and influence despite the horrific damage it has done to American communities across the nation.

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Andrew Thornebrooke is a journalist covering issues of defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a MA in military history from Norwich University. He authors of The Rearguard, a defense and security analysis newsletter.
Andrew Thornebrooke is a journalist covering issues of defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a MA in military history from Norwich University.

A McNair Scholar and public speaker, Thornebrooke has presented research at several institutions including Cornell, Fordham, and the CUNY Graduate Center. His bylines appear in numerous outlets including the Epoch Times, the Free-Lance Star, InsideSources, the Lowell Sun, and the Western Journal.
Topics of Expertise
Defense; Military Affairs; National Security




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