A member of the Sackler family, owner of the maker of OxyContin, has asked the company to grant a premium on the sale of high doses of potentially addictive painkillers, according to new revelations in a lawsuit.
Richard Sackler, son of the founder of Purdue Pharma and his former president, told company officials in 2008 to "measure Rx's performance to the force, giving higher forces higher forces," according to an email Mr. Sackler, contained in the filing.
The lawsuit, filed in June by Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, claims that Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family knew that prolonged administration of high doses of OxyContin to patients increased the risks of Serious side effects, including addiction. Nevertheless, they advocated higher doses, as stronger pain pills brought the company and the Sacklers the highest benefit, the lawsuit said.
A spokeswoman for Purdue rejected the claims in the lawsuit that the company had advocated the use of high-dose opioids. "None of the documents cited by the Attorney General supports his fictitious account that the company only wanted to promote higher doses," said spokesman Robert Josephson.
Richard Sackler said he was not involved in the company's marketing activities. However, the 2008 email appears to be one of the first internal emails from the company to suggest that Mr Sackler urged the promotion of the increased power of OxyContin. According to the new information, two other family members, Jonathan and Mortimer Sackler, were copied into the email.
This email is one of many disclosures that came to light on Thursday when Ms. Healey filed a version of her lawsuit that contained information that Purdue Pharma had sought to block from public view.
In a case filed last week, several parts of the lawsuit were drafted, but a Massachusetts state judge agreed with several groups, including Good Medical and other media, that the entire complaint should be made public. A last-minute effort by Purdue Pharma on Thursday to block the publication failed.
The drug maker has long sought to represent the Sackler family as being removed from the day-to-day business of the company. The Sacklers are one of the richest families in the United States and derive much of their wealth from the sale of OxyContin. Their name honors museums and medical schools around the world, and the new revelations are likely to renew calls for institutions to make philanthropic donations.
In a statement, Purdue Pharma, based in Stamford, Connecticut, said Thursday's release of the rest of the lawsuit in Massachusetts was part of an ongoing effort to isolate Purdue, blame him for the entire crisis in the US. opioids and in the case before the court of public opinion rather than before the judicial system. "
Earlier this month, the trial was described as "fraught with prejudices and inaccurate descriptions". According to this statement, the company was working to reduce the use and misuse of prescription pain medications.
In 2007, Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges, alleging that the company misrepresented the dangers of OxyContin. Three of his senior officials – his chief executive, Michael Friedman; its General Counsel, Howard Udell; and his chief physician, Dr. Paul Goldenheim – pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the company's conduct. Together, the company and men paid $ 634.5 million fine.
At that time, the Sacklers were accused of no wrongdoing and did not have to face personal legal consequences related to the drug. The new information shows that after the pleas, the Purdue board of directors, which includes several members of the Sackler family, voted in favor of paying Mr. Friedman $ 3 million and Mr. Udell up to $ 6 million. The lawsuit argues that the payments were efforts by the Sacklers to maintain the loyalty of the rulers and protect the family.
Mr. Udell is now deceased and Mr. Friedman has not responded to a phone call for comments.
The new information also includes a chart showing the billions of dollars the Sacklers have received from Purdue over the years. The lawsuit alleges that the Sackler family has received more than $ 4 billion in opioid profits since 2007, when the company pleaded guilty.
The lawsuit includes allegations that McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm, has prepared reports for Purdue Pharma to develop strategies to increase doctors' prescription of the most powerful forms of painkillers in society.
According to the complaint, McKinsey consultants advised Purdue Pharma to increase sales by saying that opioids reduce stress and make patients less isolated. Patients taking medications such as OxyContin may actually become socially withdrawn.
McKinsey consultants, members of the Sackler family, have also planned to study techniques to keep patients on opioids longer and McKinsey urged Purdue Pharma to fight against the efforts of federal agencies to stop illegal sales drug.
A spokesman for McKinsey said in a statement that the company had only received the unreturned version of the lawsuit in Massachusetts and that she was currently reviewing it. "We are deeply concerned about the opioid crisis and its impact on our communities," the statement said.
The filing also indicates that in recent years, Purdue Pharma has considered selling drugs used to treat opioid addiction or counteract the effects of a potentially fatal opioid overdose.
A slide part of a presentation made in 2014 to company representatives, including a Sackler family member, on the sale of a drug for the treatment of addiction indicated that " the treatment of pain and dependence were naturally linked. He also said: "There is an opportunity to expand our offer. to be an end-to-end pain provider. "
Although this plan did not materialize, the company also considered the possibility of selling naloxone, or Narcan, a drug intended to revive people who are suffering from an opioid overdose. According to the documents cited in the paper, a potential marketing plan advocated studying "long-term script users" to "better understand target patients" for Narcan.
Since the launch of OxyContin in 1996, more than 200,000 people have died in the United States from an overdose related to prescription opioids. Purdue Pharma has been the subject of numerous lawsuits. The Massachusetts case is one of hundreds of lawsuits filed by states, cities and Native American tribes against manufacturers and distributors of opioids. Many of these cases have been consolidated for trial in a federal court of Ohio.