The Sacklers, the family that controls Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, is seeking a “global resolution” to the thousands of lawsuits faulting them for the opioid epidemic, an attorney representing four members of the family told Reuters.
Mary Jo White, who formerly served as a U.S. Attorney and chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told the news service that “the objective is and remains to try to achieve a global resolution” to the more than 2,000 lawsuits from state, city and county governments against the family and the drugmaker.
“Purdue and the Sackler family members, given this litigation landscape, would like to resolve with the plaintiffs in a constructive way to get the monies to the communities that need them, to the people that are addicted … rather than to pay attorneys’ fees for years and years and years to come. You’re talking 2,000 cases. How long will they take to go through the court system?” White told Reuters.
White’s comments mark the first time the Sackler family has indicated willingness to settle the litgation globally. White acknowledged to Reuters that there would be logistical problems due to the sheer volume of lawsuits.
“You have municipalities and counties as well as state AGs involved in these matters,” she said. “And getting all of those plaintiffs in a global resolution is very difficult.”
Several of the lawsuits against Purdue and the Sacklers, including a nearly 300-page complaint by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, accuse members of the family of deliberately pushing OyxContin on doctors, pharmacies and patients and concealing their potential for addictiveness.
White told Reuters the plaintiffs’ claims erroneously place the blame for the opioid crisis entirely on prescription drug manufacturers rather than heroin from Mexico or fentanyl from China.
“Let’s see what the real problem is and what the real solutions are rather than playing a litigation blame game with the fingers pointed in the wrong direction,” she told Reuters.