The SACKLER Act and Other Policies to Promote Accountability for the Sackler Family’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic

Meeting Notes: 
This is a hybrid, remote/in person hearing.
Date: 
Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 12:00pm
Location: 
2154 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
“The SACKLER Act and Other Policies to Promote Accountability for the Sackler Family’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic”

Chairwoman Maloney's Opening Statement [PDF]

Member Mark DeSaulnier’s Opening Statement [PDF]

Washington D.C. (June 1, 2021)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden will testify before the Committee on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 12:00 p.m., at a hybrid hearing to examine the Sackler family’s role in fueling America’s opioid epidemic and policies to promote accountability, like the SACKLER Act. 

 

The hearing will examine the harm members of the Sackler family inflicted on American communities while enriching themselves through Purdue Pharma’s sales of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin. 

 

The hearing will also evaluate the need for Congress to enact reforms like the SACKLER Act—legislation that would prevent individuals who have not filed for bankruptcy, like members of the Sackler family, from obtaining releases from individual liability through bankruptcy proceedings.  AG Healey, a Democrat, and AG Wasden, a Republican, have both endorsed the SACKLER Act.

 

The Committee will also hear from New York Times bestselling author Patrick Radden Keefe, whose recently published exposé, Empire of Pain:  The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, documents the history of the Sackler family and the fortune they amassed while fueling the opioid crisis. 

 

Background:

 

On December 17, 2020, the Committee held a landmark hearing with members of the Sackler family testifying in public under oath for one of the first times in history. 

 

On March 19, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney and senior Committee Member Rep. Mark DeSaulnier introduced the SACKLER Act, which closes a loophole in bankruptcy law by preventing individuals who have not filed for bankruptcy from obtaining releases from lawsuits brought by states, Tribes, municipalities, or the U.S. government in bankruptcy.

 

The SACKLER Act has been cosponsored by more than 40 Members of Congress and endorsed by dozens of patient, treatment, and corporate accountability organizations across the country.

 

On May 7, 2021, the Editorial Board of the Boston Globe called on Congress to pass the SACKLER Act to prevent members of the Sackler family from exploiting the bankruptcy code to obtain releases from individual liability, and “to ensure that state attorneys general never again have to rely on the individual judges to guard against this misuse of bankruptcy courts.”

 

On June 1, 2021, the Editorial Board of Scranton’s Times-Tribune urged Congress to pass the SACKLER Act, noting that “people harmed by others’ wayward conduct should not be precluded from compensation through inappropriate use of bankruptcy protections.”

WITNESSES

Alexis Pleus

Founder and Executive Director

Truth Pharm

 

The Honorable Maura Healey

Exhibits Accompanying Testimony

Attorney General

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

The Honorable Jim Carroll

Former Director

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

 

The Honorable Lawrence Wasden

Attorney General

State of Idaho

 

Patrick Radden Keefe

Author of Empire of Pain:  The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

Issues: 
117th Congress