Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a lawsuit Tuesday against members of the Sackler family, alleging that as owners and directors of Purdue Pharma the Sacklers have played a key role in worsening the opioid crisis in Indiana.
Purdue Pharma is best known for making and marketing the painkiller OxyContin.
In November of 2018, Attorney General Hill filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, alleging the company intentionally understated the health risks of long-term opioid use and deceptively marketed several drugs in ways that violated Indiana law. That matter remains pending in Marion Superior Court.
In today’s lawsuit, the State of Indiana alleges that members of the Sackler family directed, approved of, and participated in their company’s destructive strategies. The lawsuit further alleges that the Sacklers enriched themselves to the tune of billions of dollars from these schemes. In fact, the Sacklers instructed Purdue Pharma to distribute approximately $4.3 billion to the Sackler family from April 2008 until 2016 alone.
The lawsuit alleges that these members of the Sackler family – who individually served as Purdue Pharma’s CEO, vice presidents and/or board directors – violated the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, the Prescription Drug Discount and Benefit Card Statute, the False Claims Act and the Medicaid False Claims Act, among other unlawful activities.
“We believe the Sacklers’ wrongful acts have left a wake of addiction, death and devastation in Indiana and across the country,” Attorney General Hill said. “I hope this lawsuit serves notice to all that this office will continue to hold accountable companies and individuals who are engaging in abusive, deceptive, illegal and/or unfair conduct that causes harm to Indiana consumers.”
The lawsuit seeks civil penalties, treble damages, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and restitution of sums constituting unjust enrichment.
The Office of the Attorney General intends to continue working to ensure that any funds becoming available through this action would be used to help address the public health crisis brought on by Purdue Pharma’s and the Sackler family’s misconduct.
“The Sackler family and Purdue Pharma bear substantial responsibility for causing this crisis,” Attorney General Hill said. “Now they must bear substantial responsibility to help fix it.”
Assisting the Office of the Attorney General in this matter are the law firms of Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll PLLC and Zimmerman Reed LLP.