WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma which created the addictive opioid painkiller OxyContin.
- The Sacklers have long been blamed for the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic in the U.S.
- Reports surfaced that the family owns another drug company, Rhodes Pharma, which produces opioid-based painkillers containing addictive drugs such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.
The owners of Purdue Pharma, which created the addictive opioid painkiller OxyContin, have been blamed for fostering the nation’s ongoing opioid addiction epidemic.
According to a Financial Times report released Sunday, Richard Sackler and his billionaire family are also the owners of a second drug company, Rhodes Pharma, which is one of the largest creators of off-patent generic opioids.
Launched in 2007, Rhode Island-based Rhodes Pharma produces several opioid-based painkillers containing addictive drugs such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.
The Financial Times reported that the two companies were responsible for 14.4 million opioid prescriptions in the U.S.
In 2016, Forbes reported that the Sacklers were worth a combined $13 billion, which is shared among 20 family members. Majority of their wealth was reportedly gained from drug-making.
Over the years, Purdue Pharma has faced hundreds of lawsuits for fueling the opioid epidemic, especially after more than 63,000 people in the U.S. have died from drug overdoses in 2016 — 66 percent of which were related to opioid use.
The company is now facing a lawsuit filed by Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman for its “significant role in causing the opioid epidemic.”
Purdue Pharma L.P. and Purdue Pharma Inc. were charged for misleading doctors and patients in Colorado with regards to the high risk of addiction from their medications.
The lawsuit claimed the company “downplayed the risk of addiction associated with opioids.”
Also, Purdue Pharma’s marketing not only “exaggerated the benefits” of the medication but also warned medical practitioners that they were in jeopardy of violating the Hippocratic Oath if they didn’t use opioids to treat patients suffering from certain conditions.
In a statement released by Coffman Thursday, she stated: “Purdue’s habit-forming medications coupled with their reckless marketing have robbed children of their parents, families of their sons and daughters, and destroyed the lives of our friends, neighbors, and co-workers.”
“While no amount of money can bring back loved ones, it can compensate for the enormous costs brought about by Purdue’s intentional misconduct,” Coffman said.
According to the Washington Post, the Sackler family was also found to be behind a new drug known as Buprenorphine-water, which claims to help treat opioid addiction.