The fight to end the opioid crisis and bring opioid manufacturers and distributors to justice is on. A national settlement was simply a notion a few months ago. Johnson & Johnson lost an opioid trial in August and was fined for over $500 million. Since, opioid manufacturers have come to their senses – settle or get fined out of existence. A few days ago Purdue Pharma settled with thousands of cities and counties for $3 billion up front and future profits from sales of Oxycontin.
Over 20 attorneys general rejected the settlement and vowed to seek more of the Sacklers’ (Purdue owners) wealth, which was previously estimated by Forbes at $13 billion. Last week New York Attorney General Letitia James uncovered another $1 billion of hidden opioid money from the Sacklers. The family subsequently filed for bankruptcy protection. The road to capturing more of the family’s wealth to help fund the opioid crisis could be long and tedious. However, Ms. James has vowed to hunt the Sacklers to the ends of the earth:
It's no shock that Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing comes 48 hours after my office exposed ~$1 billion in wire transfers involving Swiss bank accounts.
NY opposes this deal & we will not be deterred in our lawsuit to hold the Sackler family responsible for the opioid crisis. https://t.co/DRbcOyot7w
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) September 16, 2019
Is there more money that the Sacklers could comfortably cough up? Of course there is. How long will it take and will bankruptcy shield the Sacklers’ assets? It could take years to find out. In the meantime, state AGs trying to uncover more of the Sacklers’ hidden wealth could make for great theater.