Attorney General William Tong has released the state’s unredacted complaint against Purdue Pharma, which includes what his office calls “shocking and offensive emails” from the Stamford drugmaker’s former director Richard Sackler.
In April, Connecticut filed an expanded, amended lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, members of the Sackler family, former members of Purdue’s Board of Directors and corporate executives, and Sackler-controlled companies alleging fraudulent transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars from Purdue Pharma to the Sacklers to evade liability and accountability to Connecticut victims of the opioid epidemic.
Purdue is the subject of hundreds of lawsuits filed by states and municipalities over its manufacture and marketing of such products as OxyContin.
Included in the unredacted complaint are previously undisclosed emails, include one from 2001 from an acquaintance of Richard Sackler in which the acquaintance states: “Abusers die, well that is the choice they made, I doubt a single one didn’t know of the risks.” Sackler responded with: “Abusers aren’t victims; they are the victimizers.”
Also in 2001, the same acquaintance wrote: “You know what the general ignorant public will say, do away with the drug!! Blame the manufactures (sic), Drs., pharmacist, but NEVER NEVER THE CRIMINAL, HE/SHE, (to be politically correct) is never to blame. Give me a break, lest I THROW UP! The whole thing is a sham and if people die because they abuse it then good riddance.”
Sackler replied: “Unfortunately, when I’m ambushed by 60 Minutes, I can’t easily get this concept across. Calling drug addicts ‘scum of the earth’ will guarantee that I become the poster child for liberals who want to do just want (sic) to distribute the blame to someone else, as you say.”
“Richard Sackler’s outrageous comments show an utter disregard for human life,” Tong declared. “These emails are far more than a momentary lapse in judgment between friends — they encapsulate the depraved indifference to human suffering that infected Purdue’s entire business model.
“Purdue and defendant members of the Sackler family knew people were dying,” the attorney general continued, “but they continued to push their opioids in blind pursuit of profit. Purdue and the Sacklers must be held accountable.”
A spokesman for Sackler said the former Purdue director has apologized for the remarks. In a statement, Richard Sackler wrote: “I’ve gotten a lot more information about addiction, in general, opioid addiction, in particular, and of course, my views have evolved and changed.”