The attorney general says the Sackler family bears responsibility for the opioid crisis.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is pursuing litigation against a family that founded an opioid manufacturer.
The lawsuit against the Sackler family, which founded Purdue Pharma, was announced Tuesday. Indiana is following other states which had sued the family leading one of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers.
The litigation follows a previous Indiana lawsuit filed against Purdue Pharma last year. Both cases allege the drug manufacturer and the Sacklers contributed to the opioid crisis in the Hoosier state.
Purdue Pharma is known for making and marketing OxyContin, the attorney general says.
Highly addictive OxyContin, introduced in 1996, and other opioids have been linked to thousands of fatal overdoses. Thousands more using the painkillers advanced their addictions to heroin or other illegal opioids.
“We believe the Sackler’s wrongful acts have directly contributed to the wake of addiction, death and devastation in Indiana and across this country,” Hill said at a news conference.
Since 1999, overdoses caused by legal and illegal opioids are responsible for more than 400,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About half of those have been attributed to prescriptions.
Members of the Sackler family served as Purdue Pharma’s chief executive officer, vice presidents, and board directors, according to the AG’s office.
In documents released in February, Massachusetts, one of the other states suing the Sacklers, alleged that family members aggressively directs sales representatives to push OxyContin and persuade doctors to write more prescriptions for its use.
The state is asking a judge to levee civil penalties, treble damages, ill-gotten gains, and restitution of sums constituting unjust enrichment. Any funds received by the state through the lawsuit would be put to use addressing Indiana’s “public health crisis” as a result of the alleged misconduct.
“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,” said Hill.
A 2018 study by Indiana University determined that opioid addiction costs Indiana over $4 billion each year.
At least 40 states have sued companies involved in manufacturing, distributing or dispensing opioids. Thousands of cities and counties have also filed claims against opioid manufacturers.