Kentucky Court Releases Purdue Pharma, Maker of OxyContin Deposition

An eight-hour video deposition was recently revealed from a 2015 case involving the marketing of OxyContin.

What We Know:

  • The case resulted in a $20 Million judgement but the company, Purdue Pharma, is facing over 2,000 other lawsuits. In the video, Dr. Richard Sackler – former head of Purdue Pharma, defends OxyContin under oath.
  • The video was obtained by ProPublica and was described as an “investigative news organization.”
  • In the video, it was found that Sackler responds “I don’t know” more than 100 times.
  • During the deposition, it was asked how much the family has made off of OxyContin and Sackler says, “It would be fair to say that (over $1 billion). Yes.”
  • In the lawsuit, it stated that the marketing of OxyContin was misleading. Purdue Pharma was accused of “falsely promoting OxyContin”, which included “failing to alert doctors that it was stronger than morphine.”
  • Sackler was asked his opinion on “if physicians thought it was stronger or equal to morphine … much less, twice as strong as morphine, that they would be less likely to write prescriptions and sales of OxyContin would go down?”
  • In response he stated, “No. Uh, if it, if its personality was changed, if it was stigmatized as an end of life drug, it could limit its usefulness. The term stronger here meant more threatening, more frightening,” Sackler said in the deposition. “There is no way that this intended or had the effect of causing physicians to overlook the fact that it was twice as potent. It was called out in virtually every promotional piece of literature.”
  • “These tapes represent the first time that the public will see a member of the Sackler family … be questioned about whether or not Purdue Pharma played a role in spawning the national opioid crisis,” David Armstrong, senior reporter at ProPublica, told ABC News’ Good Morning America.
  • Kurrently, Purdue Pharma is facing more lawsuits but they are firmly taking the stance that they are “not responsible for fueling the opioid crisis.”

It’s difficult to blame one cause for such a large epidemic, but we need to be mindful of how things might be perceived. It will be interesting to see how the other lawsuits will end.