N.Y. accuses opioid maker Purdue of illegal fund transfers to Sacklers

Source: Business Insurance

March 28, 2019 (Reuters) — Purdue Pharma LP fraudulently transferred funds to members of the wealthy Sackler family who control the OxyContin maker despite knowing it faced major liabilities that had made it already insolvent, New York’s attorney general alleged on Thursday. New York Attorney General Letitia James made the claims in a revised lawsuit already pending against Purdue over its role in the opioid epidemic that added members of the Sackler family and other drug manufacturers and distributors as defendants. The lawsuit alleged Purdue and other manufacturers engaged in deceptive marketing that downplayed the dangers of the addictive painkillers and accused distributors of failing to detect the diversion of the drugs for illicit purposes. “As the Sackler family and the other defendants grew richer, New Yorkers’ health grew poorer and our state was left to foot the bill,” Attorney General James said in a statement. The revised lawsuit also added as defendants units of opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson, Endo International PLC, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and distributors McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. In a statement, the Sackler family called the lawsuit “a misguided attempt to place blame where it does not belong for a complex public health crisis.” Representatives for the other defendants did not respond to requests for comment.