Dr. Battle’s legal infractions pale in comparison to those of the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, the maker and distributor of the highly addictive opioid pain medication OxyContin. In March 2022, a U.S. bankruptcy judge approved a settlement in which Purdue and the Sacklers would pay $6 billion to states, individuals, and opioid abatement programs.
Following thousands of lawsuits alleging that the Sackler family misled the public about the addictive nature of OxyContin and thereby directly exacerbated the opioid crisis, Purdue filed for bankruptcy in 2019. In 2007 and 2020, Purdue pled guilty to misbranding and fraud charges related to the marketing of OxyContin, respectively, though the Sackler family steadfastly denies wrongdoing.
The settlement protects the Sacklers from present and future lawsuits regarding OxyContin, but it does not prohibit future criminal lawsuits.
The day after the settlement’s approval, members of the Sackler family were required to attend a Zoom hearing in which family members of OxyContin victims recounted the tragic effects the highly addictive pain medication have had on their lives, including fatal overdoses. Before the hearing, the Sacklers conveyed in a statement that they “sincerely regret that OxyContin, a prescription medicine that continues to help people suffering from chronic pain, unexpectedly became part of an opioid crisis…”