Sackler Family Members Testify Before House Oversight Committee

This photo shows Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Conn. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Members of the House Oversight Committee expressed their outrage as a four-hour hearing on the opioid epidemic yielded little new information.

On Thursday, Purdue Pharma owner David Sackler and his cousin, Dr. Kathe Sackler, appeared before the committee to publicly address their involvement in the crisis for the first time. In their initial statements, both David and Kathe expressed sympathy for the plight of the millions of families affected.

“I want to express my family’s deep sadness about the opioid crisis,” stated the owner.”Oxycontin is a medicine that Purdue intended to help people, and it has helped and continues to help millions of Americans.”

While Purdue has already pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the epidemic and both witnesses recognized the company was partial at fault for the crisis, neither David nor Kathe accepted personal responsibility.

David, who sat on the Board of Directors from 2012 to 2018, defended his family. “Let me conclude by saying this,” he said, “what you’ve heard from the press about the Sacklers is almost certainly wrong and highly distorted.”

Kathe, a former vice president of Purdue and a board member from 1990 to 2018, acknowledged that she was personally involved with working on the medical development of the drugs. She said that she didn’t know there was an issue with Oxycontin, stating “when I served, I followed my conscience.”

Their refusal to personally apologize drew outrage from members of the committee.

In the 25 years since the FDA granted approval for Oxycontin, the painkiller has brought in approximately $35 billion for Purdue. In that same span of time, more than a half a million people have died due to opioid overdose.




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