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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Max Rose (NY-11)

Congressman Max Rose is leading a call with dozens of colleagues in Congress urging the Department of Justice to hold Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and members of the Sackler family that owns it, accountable for intentionally addicting millions of unsuspecting people to powerful painkillers for profit and directly contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.

“I don’t know how anyone who’s seen firsthand the pain that Purdue Pharma has inflicted on thousands of families like we have in our community could ever dream of letting them off the hook—they should be facing criminal charges” Rose said. “It’s about damn time Purdue and the Sacklers face the consequences of their decades of lies and destruction– not only to bring justice to the families who lost a loved one, but to send a clear message that no one will ever be allowed to profit off of killing our kids.”

Rose’s push comes following reports that Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family are nearing a plea agreement with the Department of Justice, which would resolve all their federal criminal liability without a single person serving a day in prison.

“Millions of American families impacted by the opioid epidemic are looking to you and your Department for justice,” Rose and his colleagues wrote in a letter to Attorney General William Barr. “Justice for the sleepless nights spent worrying about sons and daughters trapped in the grip of substance use disorder, justice for the jobs lost and the lives ruined, and justice for the lives of loved ones lost to overdoses. If the only practical consequence of your Department’s investigation is that a handful of billionaires are made slightly less rich, we fear that the American people will lose faith in the ability of the Department to provide accountability and equal justice under the law.”

Rose and his colleagues specifically urged the Department of Justice to ensure that any settlement with Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family:

  1. Is made public and viewable by the American people in its entirety;
  2. Reflects the principles for achieving a just resolution to criminal cases, as embodied in 18 USC 3553. In particular, that the outcome reflects the seriousness of the offense, that it provides just punishment for the offense, and that it affords adequate deterrence to criminal conduct; and
  3. In no way interferes with the ability of other government entities or individuals to take civil or criminal action against Purdue Pharma or any other entity or individual associated with or connected to Purdue’s criminal activities.

The letter also calls on the Department of Justice to learn from its previous prosecution of Purdue, which failed to stop the pharmaceutical company and the Sacklers from continuing their deadly and criminal marketing scheme. 

“In 2007, prosecutors at the Department of Justice knew the full extent of Purdue’s depraved criminal enterprise and detailed the reasons why three top Purdue executives should be indicted on numerous felonies in a 120-page memo,” the letter continued. “But instead of fully prosecuting those crimes, DOJ opted to settle with Purdue in exchange for the equivalent of less than 6 months’ worth of OxyContin sales and the three executives’ guilty pleas to misdemeanors.”

Rose, a member of the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction, has led the charge to hold Purdue Pharma responsible for its role in the opioid epidemic. Last September, following Purdue Pharma’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Rose called on the Department of Justice to formally bring criminal charges against the opioid manufacturer and the Sackler family that owns it. Earlier this year, Rose sought a public reckoning for the Sackler family when he called on the Metropolitan Museum of Art to remove the disgraced family name from its halls.

Rose has continually fought to support those who have been afflicted by Purdue Pharma’s fraudulent scheme. Following his successful effort last year to secure a $140 million increase in funding to support opioid prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, in July Rose passed through the House of Representatives another increase of $96 million in funding for these programs. Rose’s bipartisan Fentanyl Sanctions Act was signed into law, which will apply sanctions on drug manufacturers in China who knowingly provide fentanyl to traffickers, transnational criminal organizations like those in Mexico who mix fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the U.S. and financial institutions that assist them.

Full text of the letter HERE.