NH files complaint against Sacklers, founders of Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin

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OxyContin, a drug manufactured by Purdue Pharmacy and linked to the nations opioid epidemic. File Photo

CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire on Monday filed a complaint against members of the Sackler family in Merrimack County Superior Court. The complaint is based on accusations that the Sackler family served as the primary architects and beneficiaries of Purdue Pharma’s deceptive and unlawful promotion and distribution of their opioid products in New Hampshire.

The Complaint filed on September 16, 2019 is here:

The State’s complaint alleges that:

  • Each of the named members of the Sackler family tightly controlled the operation of Purdue in addition to holding a majority of seats on the Purdue board of directors.
  • The Sackler family directed Purdue sales representatives to promote opioids to New Hampshire prescribers, with full knowledge that these drugs posed significant risks to patients.
  • The Sacklers enriched themselves individually while draining Purdue of financial resources, having the effect of placing hundreds of millions of dollars in Purdue assets beyond the reach of creditors, including the State, which has filed a separate complaint against Purdue.

As a result of these distributions, Purdue’s assets are no longer available to satisfy Purdue’s creditors, and the company filed bankruptcy on September 15, 2019.

The State’s complaint against the Sackler family seeks a judgment in favor of the State for its causes of action, including Consumer and Medicaid Fraud, Public Nuisance, Fraudulent or Negligent Misrepresentation and Fraudulent Transfers. The complaint requests a permanent injunction against the Sackler family from engaging in deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition, disgorgement of the money the Sackler family wrongfully and unjustly acquired, civil penalties, and a requirement that the Sackler family abate the public nuisance their conduct created.


Statements from States Rejecting the Purdue/Sackler Settlement Proposal from September 13, 2019:

New Hampshire was recently among a majority of state attorneys general who rejected a Purdue/Sackler settlement proposal. These states are united in their commitment to ensuring accountability as the terms of the settlement did not sufficiently hold the Sacklers accountable for the harm their conduct caused in an opioid crisis, which has been particularly acute in New Hampshire.

  • California

“California aims to hold all parties that contributed to this opioid epidemic accountable. Purdue Pharma’s September 11 proposed settlement does not provide anything close to the $10-12 billion that has been reported and lacks the accountability we see as critical.”

– Attorney General Xavier Becerra

  • Colorado

“Colorado has not agreed to any settlement with Purdue Pharma or the Sackler Family. No current offer adequately addresses the harm that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused to communities and individuals in Colorado by contributing to the opioid crisis. We will continue to work hard to hold them accountable and obtain an appropriate settlement or judgment to address the crisis.”

– Attorney General Phil Weiser

  • Connecticut

“I cannot speak to other states or divulge confidential negotiations, but Connecticut has not agreed to any settlement. Our position remains firm and unchanged and nothing for us has changed today. The scope and scale of the pain, death and destruction that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused far exceeds anything that has been offered thus far. Connecticut’s focus is on the victims and their families, and holding Purdue and the Sacklers accountable for the crisis they have caused. I cannot predict whether Purdue will seek bankruptcy, but all I can say is we are ready to aggressively pursue this case wherever it goes—whether it is in the Connecticut courts or through bankruptcy.”

– Attorney General William Tong

  • Delaware

“Delaware has not agreed to a settlement with Purdue. We remain steadfast in our commitment to hold Purdue and the Sackler family accountable for their clearly egregious role in the opioid crisis. This epidemic has affected everybody in our state. It has destroyed families, taken more than 1,400 lives since 2014, and devastated communities throughout Delaware. Irrespective of Purdue’s actions or evasions, we will continue to pursue justice on behalf of those harmed by the Sacklers’ greed, callousness, and fraud.”

– Attorney General Kathy Jennings

  • District of Columbia

“Purdue Pharma’s reckless, deceptive conduct generated billions in profits for the Sacklers, wreaked havoc on families, and pushed hundreds of thousands of Americans—including District residents—into a spiral of addiction and death. The victims and their families deserve to see those responsible held fully accountable. The District of Columbia and the majority of states find the $10-12 billion proposed settlement that has been touted falls short.

“The District of Columbia will proceed with its lawsuit against Purdue unless and until the company settles on terms that more appropriately reflect the devastation they have caused.”

– Attorney General Karl Racine

  • Hawai‘i

“On June 3, 2019, Hawai‘i filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma and certain members of the Sackler family. Along with a majority of the states, Hawai‘i did not accept the settlement proposed by Purdue and the Sacklers. The proposed settlement does not provide anything close to the $10-12 billion that has been reported in the media, nor does it adequately hold the defendants accountable for their devastating actions. We will continue to litigate this case aggressively on behalf of the people of Hawai‘i.”

– Attorney General Clare E. Connors

  • Idaho

“My office and I have been very involved in lengthy settlement negotiations involving Purdue and the Sacklers. However, I have determined the settlement terms agreed to by the parties are not in the State of Idaho’s best interests. As a result, Idaho is not one of the states agreeing to these terms and my office will continue to litigate this case.”

– Attorney General Lawrence Wasden

  • Illinois

“I reject in the strongest terms, any agreement that does not adequately hold the Sackler family accountable for the irreparable harm their actions caused to families in Illinois and across the country.

“My office expanded our lawsuit against Purdue Pharma to include the Sacklers because as the family behind Purdue, their ruthless pursuit of profits destroyed other families and communities throughout Illinois and the nation.

“The Sackler family knowingly misled the public and continued pushing Purdue’s addictive opioids without care or consideration of the death and destruction their product caused, and I stand with a majority of state attorneys general to say that the current proposal is not sufficient.

“My office is prepared to hold the Sackers accountable, regardless of whether or not Purdue declares bankruptcy, and I am pleased that a majority of states will continue to fight. I will not stop fighting on behalf of the Illinois families and communities that have been forever destroyed by the opioid epidemic.”

– Attorney General Kwame Raoul

  • Iowa

“The state of Iowa has not entered into the proposed agreement with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family. My concern centers on the amount of money to be paid by the Sackler family. I believe they have the ability and responsibility to pay more than they guaranteed to pay under the agreement. I will continue to evaluate the situation and the bankruptcy proceeding as it progresses. Our goal remains the same: Holding Purdue Pharma accountable for helping create a public health crisis, and securing funding to assist the many Iowa victims of this tragedy.”

– Attorney General Tom Miller

  • Maine

“Maine, along with many other states, is opposed to the proposed deal. We welcome an orderly liquidation of Purdue in the bankruptcy process and will continue our efforts to hold the Sackler family accountable, including our lawsuit in Maine Superior Court.”

– Attorney General Aaron Frey

  • Maryland

“A majority of states reject this settlement proposed by Purdue and the Sacklers. We have heard the voices of families across the country calling for justice. We think that our citizens are entitled to more compensation, more remediation resources, and more protection than this proposed settlement would afford. Purdue and the Sackler family have left a trail of addiction and death across our states. This proposal does not provide relief anywhere near the $10-12 billion that has been touted, nor does it provide the kind of accountability we feel is necessary. We will continue our fight to bring relief to the families that have been stricken by the opioid crisis and to bring justice to our state.”

– Attorney General Brian Frosh

  • Massachusetts

“The Sacklers pocketed billions of dollars from Purdue, but the proposed settlement doesn’t make them pay back a dime. Instead, they’re offering money from future sales of OxyContin. That’s not real accountability, and it’s unacceptable to me and to families who have lost loved ones to this epidemic. The families who were hurt by Purdue and the Sacklers have spoken loud and clear that this case demands real accountability, and I will continue to fight for that. It’s critical that all the facts come out about what this company and its executives and directors did, that they apologize for the harm they caused, and that no one profits from breaking the law. These families deserve justice.”

– Attorney General Maura Healey

  • Minnesota

“Minnesota is not part of the apparent settlement that was leaked despite the federal gag order. The terms aired in the media are not yet been concrete enough in a matter of this importance to make me comfortable with joining the proposal. I understand there is widespread uncertainty about the details, including the amounts of payments, the time period over which payments would be made, and the terms for ownership and operation of Purdue and other holdings going forward.

“From what I do understand, it may be worth far less than media reports say and seems to be not yet good enough for the magnitude of the death and destruction Purdue and the Sacklers caused. Among other things, I believe the Sacklers should be personally liable for far more money than has been reported. In our amended lawsuit against Purdue, we allege the Sackler defendants personally extracted at least $4 billion in profits from Purdue during the crisis they knew they caused. They cannot be allowed to keep it.

“But there’s no amount of money that can take away the pain of the families who lost their children, parents, and loved ones to the epidemic that Purdue and the Sacklers knew they helped create. That’s why I also want to see an ironclad commitment for full public disclosure of Purdue’s and the Sacklers’ responsibility for creating and prolonging the opioid crisis. The Sacklers were in full control of Purdue at all times during the crisis. Families and survivors deserve transparency about what they did to contribute to the deaths of their loved ones. We cannot allow them to escape with their reputations intact.”

– Attorney General Keith Ellison

  • Nevada

“A majority of states opposed the settlement proposed by Purdue and the Sacklers as not going far enough to help redress the national opioid epidemic. We have heard the voices of families across the country calling for justice, and believe Purdue’s proposal does not provide anything close to the $10-12 billion that has been touted, nor does it provide the kind of accountability we feel is necessary. We will continue our fight to reveal what this company and its executives and directors did, and most importantly, to bring justice to our communities.”

– Attorney General Aaron Ford

  • New Hampshire

“The tentative agreement, as it stands, does not sufficiently hold the Sackler family, who bear significant responsibility for this opioid crisis, accountable. It is a bad deal for the people of New Hampshire who have been hardest hit by the opioid crisis.”

– Associate Attorney General James Boffetti

  • New Jersey

“Purdue Pharma has been morally bankrupt for years. If the company enters financial bankruptcy as well, New Jersey will continue to pursue all available legal options against those responsible. If Purdue cannot pay for the harm it inflicted, the Sacklers will.”

– Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal

  • New Mexico

“New Mexico has not joined the Purdue settlement at this stage, as the amount proposed was not nearly enough to pay for the harm that has been done to New Mexican families. The Office of the Attorney General will continue to fight aggressively to hold those who have ravaged our communities accountable.”

– Attorney General Hector Balderas

  • New York

“While our country continues to recover from the carnage left by the Sacklers’ greed, this family is now attempting to evade responsibility and lowball the millions of victims of the opioid crisis. A deal that doesn’t account for the depth of pain and destruction caused by Purdue and the Sacklers is an insult, plain and simple. As attorney general, I will continue to seek justice for victims and fight to hold bad actors accountable, no matter how powerful they may be.”

– Attorney General Letitia James

  • North Carolina

“If Purdue declares bankruptcy, good riddance to this company that helped create and fuel the largest drug crisis in our nation’s history. Along with many other states, I wasn’t satisfied with Purdue’s position.

“I am now preparing filings to sue the Sackler family. The Sackler family has extracted billions of dollars from Purdue since 2007 and they’ve made billions more from the overseas businesses in their opioid empire. I allege that these people are among the most responsible for the trail of death and destruction the opioid epidemic has left in its wake – and I will not stop fighting until I am assured that they have made a meaningful and certain commitment to pay for drug addiction treatment and other remedies.

“A large number of states are committed to the notion that the Sacklers need to guarantee more money. We believe they created a mess and must help to clean it up.

“Different states have different views, as is to be expected. But every Attorney General agrees that Purdue, the Sacklers, and other drug companies need to pay to treat those struggling with addiction.”

– Attorney General Josh Stein

  • Oregon

“While we cannot bring back the lives lost to opioid addiction, we can hold Purdue and the Sackler family accountable. We intend to pursue our litigation (which includes two pending lawsuits) against them. In short, I did not feel the settlement terms were adequate for Oregon.”

– Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum

  • Pennsylvania

“This apparent settlement is a slap in the face to everyone who has had to bury a loved one due to this family’s destruction and greed. It allows the Sackler family to walk away billionaires and admit no wrongdoing.

“We know they targeted Pennsylvanians—especially seniors and veterans—which contributed to the crisis we are dealing with today that claims the lives of 12 Pennsylvanians a day.

“I won’t let them get away with the harm they inflicted on our Commonwealth. This is far from over.”

– Attorney General Josh Shapiro

  • Rhode Island

“Far too many lives have been lost or devastated in Rhode Island as a result of the opioid crisis. We have not agreed to the proposed settlement framework with Purdue Pharma. Before we could responsibly reach any agreement, we would need much more information about the financial holdings of Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers to be confident that this resolution adequately compensates Rhode Island and, equally as important, holds the company and its owners accountable for the enormous destruction they have caused.

“We are committed to continuing to aggressively pursue our claims against Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers. Today we filed a complaint against additional members of the Sackler family for the role that they played in the distribution of these highly addictive opioids in Rhode Island.”

– Attorney General Peter Neronha

  • Vermont

“The State of Vermont rejected the settlement offer from Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family for the following reasons. First, the offer is not fully developed and we want to be certain that any benefit is not illusory. The value of the settlement is not fully guaranteed. It has been reported that the total value of the offer is $10-12 billion. That is incorrect. Only a fraction is guaranteed. Vermont demands more certainty and guarantees regarding the money in order to effectively address the opioids crisis in Vermont.

“Second, I do not believe that going to bankruptcy court to create and spin-off a new, public benefit company is in the public’s interest. I would prefer to shut down the company, sell the company’s assets now, and put the proceeds to use helping Vermonters whose lives have been ruined.

“Third, I want to be sure that billionaires can’t use bankruptcy court as a vehicle to avoid accountability.

I believe in due process. I believe in the rule of law. But I also believe that the story needs to be told about how this epidemic started. For those reasons, Vermont rejected the settlement offer and will continue to fight on behalf of Vermonters.”

– Attorney General T. J. Donovan

  • Virginia

“I have not agreed to any settlement with Purdue or the Sackler Family and I won’t unless and until I am sure it is in the best interest of Virginians. Purdue and the Sacklers will never be able to undo all the damage they have done, but at the very least, they must face real, significant, personal accountability for their lies and for the pain and heartbreak they have caused.”

– Attorney General Mark Herring

  • Washington

“Washington has not agreed to a settlement with Purdue. My goal has always been to hold Purdue and the Sacklers accountable and make them pay for the damage they caused. Importantly, Purdue’s valuation of the reported settlement does not come close to matching ours. In addition, this purported settlement does not include an apology to the families and communities devastated by Purdue and the Sacklers’ conduct. In short, the purported settlement does not provide accountability or adequate relief to address the opioid epidemic in Washington state. Washingtonians certainly deserve better, and I’ll keep fighting for them to get it.”

– Attorney General Bob Ferguson

  • Wisconsin

“The Sackler family has made billions of dollars from the sale of opioids. Wisconsin has alleged that two Purdue Pharma entities and Richard Sackler contributed to the opioid epidemic through unlawful conduct. We’re committed to getting justice and, in my view, Purdue’s current position doesn’t achieve that.”

– Attorney General Josh Kaul