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Suffolk County Sues Purdue Pharma Family Over Opioids

Jeff Chiu
A pharmacist poses for photos holding a bottle of OxyContin in April.

In a rare move, Suffolk County, New York is suing the family that owns Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma over their role in the opioid crisis.

The lawsuit is one of just a few that name the Sackler family. Compare that to tens of thousands of opioid lawsuits across the country that name their company, Purdue Pharma.

Paul Hanley, who is representing Suffolk County, said new evidence makes it appropriate to expand a 2016 lawsuit to include the family.

“The Sackler family were instrumental in developing the entire marketing program for OxyContin, which was predicated upon entirely false science...or no science at all...and because among other things, they have profited grandly from sales of OxyContin.”

Hanley claims the Sackler family oversaw the marketing of OxyContin and other prescription painkillers, and “the expansion of this lawsuit in Suffolk County contains the most detailed and specific allegations about the role of the Sackler family in creating this opioid epidemic.”

In addition to naming the Sackler family, Hanley also expanded the lawsuit to include retailers like CVS, Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

Suffolk County seeks reimbursement for millions of dollars in costs to emergency response units and also commitment to fund recovery and treatment programs.

Hanley says the Sacklers have made $10 billion to $20 billion since Purdue developed OxyContin.

A spokesman for the family declined to comment.