Policy Issue

Policy Watch: Resolution of Purdue Pharma Suit Will Benefit Substance Use Services

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey leads the way

July 15, 2021

Under the leadership of Attorney General Maura Healey, Massachusetts was the first state to sue Purdue Pharma for its role in the nation's opioid epidemic. Healey alleged that the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma “created the epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit” by enticing doctors to prescribe their medication and peddling “falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives.”

Last week, three years after filing an initial lawsuit against the family, Healey, along with other state AGs announced a resolution that goes beyond financial penalties. In addition to paying $4.3 billion, the defendants must publicly disclose documents that had previously been kept private, and sell or dismantle Purdue Pharma. Additionally, the Sackler name is temporarily banned from being placed on public buildings, effectively shaming the family for their role in building the opioid epidemic.

In her announcement, Attorney General Healey stated that the terms are, "Not enough. You cannot put a price on a life" and called for federal legislation to close a bankruptcy loophole the Sackler family used when trying to protect their fortune.

Over decades, lives have been lost and many people have turned to illicit substances to cope with their addiction. Money from the resolution will be distributed across the country to the many states, cities, and people harmed by the epidemic; in Massachusetts, $90 million dollars will be funneled into a Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund for opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.

Click here for more details on the Purdue Pharma resolution.

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