Sackler family, who own a OxyContin maker, spurring opioid crisis, buys mansion near Boca Raton

Members of the Sackler family, owners of Oxycontin-maker Purdue Pharma, are buying a sprawling home in Palm Beach County for $7.4million – months before the family business filed for bankruptcy.  

The purchase took place shortly before Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 protection in a bid to resolve 2,600 opioid lawsuits pending against the company. 

The property purchases in Palm Beach County, an epicenter of the pill mill industry that helped spawn the national opioid crisis, stunned an attorney who represents the county.

‘Outrageous,’ Hunter Shkolnik said of the Sackler family’s move to Palm Beach County, according to the Palm Beach Post

Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. The owners of the company's OxyContin drug, purchased a Palm Beach, Florida mansion for $7.4million

Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. The owners of the company's OxyContin drug, purchased a Palm Beach, Florida mansion for $7.4million

Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. The owners of the company’s OxyContin drug, purchased a Palm Beach, Florida mansion for $7.4million     

Protesters gather outside Purdue Pharma's Stamford, Connecticut headquarters in September over a recent opioid settlement.  The company behind OxyContin is getting more outrage for buying a mansion in Palm Beach, recognized as the ground zero for the opioid crisis

Protesters gather outside Purdue Pharma's Stamford, Connecticut headquarters in September over a recent opioid settlement.  The company behind OxyContin is getting more outrage for buying a mansion in Palm Beach, recognized as the ground zero for the opioid crisis

Protesters gather outside Purdue Pharma’s Stamford, Connecticut headquarters in September over a recent opioid settlement.  The company behind OxyContin is getting more outrage for buying a mansion in Palm Beach, recognized as the ground zero for the opioid crisis 

Three months ago, a separate company connected to the family paid $6.8 million for the downtown West Palm Beach building, which houses the firm being used to manage the Sackler family’s money. 

The Sacklers are facing huge legal problems from the county, as they are being sued along with Purdue, claiming they took an aggressive stance in the marketing the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin. 

Several Palm Beach County hospitals, including West Boca Raton Medical Center, have sued Purda Pharma, too, the Post said.  

The drug abuse numbers are staggering with thousands of opioid deaths nationwide, and in Palm Beach County, the death toll is estimated at more than 2,400 since 2012, according to the Palm Beach County medical examiner.

David Sackler is chief executive of the family money management company, called Summer Road LLC. 

Joss Sackler in September 2019. The family, which runs Purdue Pharma and manufactured OxyContin, has a new home in Palm Beach,  the epicenter for the opioid epidemic

Joss Sackler in September 2019. The family, which runs Purdue Pharma and manufactured OxyContin, has a new home in Palm Beach,  the epicenter for the opioid epidemic

Joss Sackler in September 2019. The family, which runs Purdue Pharma and manufactured OxyContin, has a new home in Palm Beach,  the epicenter for the opioid epidemic 

Members of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) hold a rally at the Purdue Pharma building in September

Members of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) hold a rally at the Purdue Pharma building in September

Members of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) hold a rally at the Purdue Pharma building in September 

‘It’s rubbing salt in the wounds. Thousands of people have been seriously injured or are dead by their products,’ Shkolnik told the Palm Beach Post. 

While OxyContin wasn’t the only drug peddled out of the clinics, when the opioid crisis took off in 2001, it was easily the most popular. 

A major reason, the Drug Enforcement Agency claimed, was the Purdue marketing campaign misled doctors and patients alike to believe OxyContin was less addictive and safer than other opioids. 

However, the pill at the heart of the Sackler’s success, was not. 

OxyContin’s ingredient was oxycodone, a chemical cousin of heroin. And when the pill mills shut down, users and addicts in states on the receiving end of the Florida pill mill pipeline did what users and addicts in Florida did: They turned to heroin.

The Sackler family, though, has maintained they are not to blame for the crisis. In June, David Sackler told Vanity Fair that the family has had to endure ‘vitriolic hyperbole’ and ‘endless castigation.’

Anger is beyond the borders of Florida, as attorneys general in many states are highly critical of the family’s activities.

‘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,’ North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein recently told the New York Times. 

A Wall Street Journal reports indicates the beleaguered family, worth an estimated $13 billion by Forbes, may be trying to shield its wealth. 

A settlement would mean the Sackler would have to relinquish control of the controversial company and contribute $3billion to the settlement.  

To this point, 24 states, including Florida, have signed on to the bankruptcy to resolve claims, others have not. 

‘The Sacklers want the bankruptcy court to stop our lawsuits so they can keep the billions of dollars they pocketed from OxyContin and walk away without ever being held accountable. That’s unacceptable,’ Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, said in a statement earlier this month.

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