SUPREME COURT POISED TO MAKE THE SACKLER FAMILY ACCOUNTABLE
By Richard Davis
The Sackler family (primarily the Machiavellian Richard Sackler) the people who owned Purdue Pharma the company that promoted and pushed Oxycontin, have evaded criminal prosecution so far. They became big time drug dealers and pimps with a stable of sales whores as they created the opioid epidemic that persists.
A 2020 New York Times article cites a study by the Economic Research Bureau noting that, “And 65 percent of the growth in overdose death rates between 1996 and 2017 could be attributed to the introduction and marketing of OxyContin.” Oxycontin was put on the market in 1996 and it was aggressively marketed by people who showered doctors and other prescribers with gifts and a lot of misinformation to persuade them to give the drug to their patients.
The Sacklers were directly involved in all of the unethical and immoral tactics that surrounded the marketing of Oxycontin. All accounts make it clear that all they cared about was making a lot of money and they cared little for the lives they were ruining in the process.
Although it is clear that the Sacklers were directly responsible for all the bad things that happened as a result of Oxycontin a federal appeals court allowed them to agree to a settlement of $6 billion to pay people who were harmed by Oxycontin. That deal would have shielded them from criminal liability. It is a tactic that has been used by other powerful corporations that have done harm to thousands of people.
This kind of agreement was originally intended for people in financial distress and not for billionaires to evade the law. This month the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to put the Sackler agreement on hold. For the time being it means that people expecting payout from the Sackler liability-free scam will have to wait for any compensation until the Supreme Court rules.
According to the New York Times, “The justices said they would hear arguments in December to decide whether the agreement is authorized by the U.S. bankruptcy code. The case could have far-reaching implications for similar lawsuits. That is because the Purdue agreement involves a popular but controversial practice: resolving lawsuits about mass injuries through bankruptcy courts, rather than allowing the cases to make their way through the traditional court system. In many of these agreements, third parties — in this instance, the Sacklers — are shielded from liability without being required to declare bankruptcy.”
There is some hope that the Supreme Court will act to protect the rights of harmed individuals instead of shielding a billionaire family from criminal liability. No matter what happens, the Sackler family will still retain most of their estimated $11 billion wealth. The big question is whether or not some of the members of one of the most evil families ever to run roughshod over the American people will end up in jail for causing harm and taking the lives of so many people.
The best outcome in December will be for the Supreme Court to rule that the Sacklers cannot hide behind their agreement with the federal appeals court. It is possible that the law may be ruled to be on the side of the little guy as noted by an official appealing to the Supreme Court. “Allowing the Court of Appeals’ decision to stand would leave in place a road map for wealthy corporations and individuals to misuse the bankruptcy system to avoid mass tort liability,” the solicitor general, Elizabeth B. Prelogar, wrote.