- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Submits Statement for the Record Ahead of Sackler Family Hearing Before Congress About Their Role in the Opioid Crisis
BOSTON — Today, in advance of a hearing to be held by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform on the role of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family in the opioid epidemic, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey submitted a statement for the Congressional record calling for real accountability on behalf of the families and survivors who have been calling for justice in the opioid crisis.
Tomorrow’s hearing will be the first time in decades that members of the Sackler family will testify in public under oath. David Sackler, a former member of Purdue’s board of directors and Kathe Sackler, former board member and vice president of Purdue, have been called as witnesses. Purdue’s current President and CEO Craig Landau will also testify.
AG Healey’s statement, sent today to Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and members of the Committee, speaks directly to the people who were hurt by Purdue:
“For the mothers, fathers, and extended family who expended every effort to find treatment for a loved one, confronted the stigma of addiction, who spent sleepless nights worrying about a son or daughter, and who grieve for a life cut short. For people in recovery, who struggled to find a treatment bed, who saw their peers overdose or die, and who have committed themselves to helping others,” AG Healey said. “We are listening to you. Attorneys General are listening. The Members of this Committee are listening. We learned from you that the opioid crisis is a matter of life and death.”
AG Healey’s statement outlines three steps to securing appropriate accountability in this important case:
- Transparency: The companies and executives that got rich from the opioid crisis relied on keeping the facts secret. AG Healey has pushed to publish the evidence from Purdue on the Internet and show the public what the perpetrators of the opioid epidemic did. The executives who made the decisions at companies like Purdue need to answer questions in public under oath.
- Individual Accountability: When ordinary citizens break the law, they are held accountable. When Purdue admits to committing crimes, it pays a fine and no individuals are charged. The U.S. Department of Justice must do better. Purdue also misused a corporate bankruptcy to block law enforcement against billionaires who are not bankrupt, which should not be allowed.
- Shut Down Purdue: Federal law requires that criminal companies must be excluded from doing business with government health care programs. Now the Sacklers want Purdue’s OxyContin business to be preserved as a public trust, putting state and local governments in the business of owning an opioid company. That’s offensive and wrong. Families in Massachusetts and across the nation are ready to see Purdue shut down for good.
“What we do now matters. If we let powerful people cover up the facts, avoid accountability, or create a government-sponsored OxyContin business — that’s not justice. This time, we have to get it right,” AG Healey said in her statement.
Combatting the opioid crisis is a top priority for AG Healey. In 2018, Massachusetts became the first state to sue members of the Sackler family and other directors and executives who controlled Purdue, alleging they deceived doctors and the public to get more people on addictive opioids, at higher doses, for longer periods of time, causing thousands of Massachusetts residents to suffer, overdose, or die. Since then, every member of the Sackler family has resigned from the board of Purdue, and many other states and hundreds of cities and towns across America have brought their own suits against the Sacklers.
Tomorrow’s hearing to examine the role of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family in the opioid epidemic will be held virtually at 9 a.m. A livestream will be available on YouTube and the Committee on Oversight and Reform website.