MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The State of Minnesota is asking for permission to add eight members of the Sackler family as individual defendants in its lawsuit against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the request Friday as part of countrywide legal filings seeking to hold the drug industry responsible for the opioid crisis.
The Sackler family owns and operates the Connecticut-based firm. Purdue recently released a statement denying allegations of wrongdoing after several state attorneys general announced legal filings against the company.
“The states cannot link the conduct alleged to the harm described, and so they have invented stunningly overbroad legal theories, which if adopted by courts, will undermine the bedrock legal principle of causation,” the company said.
In the court filing, Ellison said the state is requesting permission from Hennepin County District Court to add Richard Sackler, Kathe Sackler, Mortimer D.A. Sackler, Jonathan Sackler, David Sackler, Irene Sackler Lefcourt, Beverly Sacker, and Theresa Sackler as defendants. Richard Sackler is the former president of the firm.
“The Sackler family controlled Purdue at all times. They were intimately involved in directing Purdue’s deceptive and fraudulent marketing tactics and driving strategies to sell more and more opioids, despite fully knowing the risks to Minnesotans,” Ellison said. “Their misconduct led directly to damage and death in every community in Minnesota.”
In Minnesota, Purdue sales representatives under the Sacklers’ direction visited prescribers more than 110,000 times between 2006 and 2017, according to a press release from Ellison’s office. Minnesotans have filled nearly 1.5 million prescriptions for OxyContin since Purdue introduced it in 1996.
Wisconsin also filed suit against Purdue.