Attorney General Tong: Department of Justice Purdue Settlement Unacceptable(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong released a statement today regarding the criminal settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Purdue Pharma.
“This settlement provides a mere mirage of justice for the victims of Purdue’s callous misconduct. The federal government had the power here to put the Sacklers in jail, and they didn’t. Instead, they took fines and penalties that Purdue likely will never fully pay. Every dollar paid here is one dollar less for states like Connecticut trying to maximize money from Purdue and the Sacklers to abate the opioid epidemic. Preserving Purdue’s ability to continue selling opioids as a public benefit corporation is simply unacceptable. The timing of this agreement mere weeks before the election raises serious questions about whether DOJ political leadership was negotiating in the best interest of the American public,” said Attorney General Tong.
As the state’s chief civil law enforcement office, the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General is seeking to ensure that Purdue and the Sacklers pay to address the opioid epidemic they caused. Connecticut first sued Purdue in December 2018, alleging that the company peddled a series of falsehoods to push patients toward its opioids, reaping massive profits from sales while addiction skyrocketed across Connecticut and the nation. In April 2019, Connecticut filed an expanded, amended lawsuit against Purdue, 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.
Dozens of other attorneys general have also sued the Sacklers, and Purdue filed for bankruptcy in September 2019. Litigation against Purdue is currently on pause during the bankruptcy proceeding.
Attorney General Tong joined a coalition of attorneys general last week calling on the DOJ to revise the settlement that preserves the company’s ability to continue OxyContin sales as a public trust corporation.