March 2, 2021 08:28

Sackler Family Takes Some Blame For Opioid Crisis

Two owners of the company that makes OxyContin acknowledged to a congressional committee Thursday that the powerful prescription painkiller has played a role in the national opioid crisis. They stopped short of apologizing or admitting wrongdoing as they faced grilling during a rare appearance in a public forum, the Associated Press reports. “I want to express my family’s deep sadness about the opioid crisis,” said David Sackler, a member of the family that owns Purdue Pharma. “OxyContin is a medicine that Purdue intended to help people, and it has helped, and continues to help, millions of Americans.” Kathe Sackler, his cousin, told the House Oversight Committee she knows “the loss of any family member or loved one is terribly painful and nothing is more tragic than the loss of a child.”

Asked about her role, she said, “I have tried to figure out if there’s anything I could have done differently knowing what I knew then, not what I know now,” she said. “There is nothing I can find that I would have done differently.” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), noted that OxyContin sales revenue increased even after the company pleaded guilty to crimes for improper marketing of the drug. “You want to ask what you could have done differently?” she asked. “Look at your own damn balance sheet.” The two Sacklers, descendants of two of the three brothers who bought Purdue nearly 70 years ago, appeared in a video hearing held amid coronavirus restrictions. They took the step after chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)  threatened to issue subpoenas. Purdue CEO Craig Landau testified, saying the company accepts “full responsibility,” in contrast to the family members.

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