Ahead of Sunshine Week, Committee Makes Public Documents Obtained in Purdue Investigation to Provide Transparency, Promote Accountability
Washington, D.C. (Mar. 11, 2021)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and senior Committee Member Rep. Mark DeSaulnier issued the following statement after the Committee made public additional documents obtained in the investigation into Purdue Pharma L.P. and members of the Sackler Family:
“Today, we are taking one more step towards justice for the thousands of families who have lost loved ones to the opioid epidemic. The public deserves to know what was going on behind the scenes as members of the Sackler Family pushed Purdue executives to flood the market with OxyContin. Making these documents public will get us closer to much-needed transparency, and promote accountability for the staggering toll the opioid epidemic has taken on our communities.”
The Committee previously released documents showing that members of the Sackler family used sales of OxyContin to “stretch” Purdue’s financial targets and increase earnings, and pressured Purdue executives to grow market share for OxyContin and other opioids.
In December 2020, Sackler Family members testified before the Committee that they support the goal of additional transparency on behalf of the American people. During the hearing, David Sackler, who previously served on Purdue’s Board of Directors, testified: “I have no problem with transparency with everything that is relevant to Purdue as it relates to the Sacklers—none at all.” He also argued that “the full record, which has not been publicly released yet, will show that the Family and the Board acted legally and ethically.”
In addition to releasing the first in a series of Purdue documents involving members of the Sackler Family, Chairwoman Maloney sent letters to Sackler Family members, Mr. David Sackler and Dr. Kathe Sackler, renewing the Committee’s request for a full accounting of the value and locations of the Sackler Family assets.
Click here to view the new public documents.
Click here to read the letter to Mr. David Sackler.
Click here to read the letter to Dr. Kathe Sackler.
On March 21, 2019, Chairman Elijah E. Cummings and Committee Member Mark DeSaulnier wrote to Purdue requesting documents relating to reports that members of the Sackler Family—who have owned a controlling share of Purdue since 1952—sought to drive up sales of OxyContin and other addictive painkillers while simultaneously expanding the market for medications to treat addition, even after Purdue first entered into a settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2007 on misdemeanor charges of misbranding OxyContin and agreed to pay $600 million in fines.
In October 2020, DOJ reached settlements to resolve criminal and civil investigations into Purdue and a civil investigation into members of the Sackler Family. Purdue pleaded guilty to three felonies and agreed to pay a nearly $8 billion fine. The Sackler Family agreed to pay $225 million in damages to resolve civil False Claims Act liability—representing just a small fraction of the Family’s estimated net worth—but did not admit to any wrongdoing.
Since 1999, nearly half a million people in the United States have lost their lives to the opioid epidemic.