One of the leading drug addicts welcomed OxyContin's Purdue Pharma maker's early decision to file for bankruptcy after talks over the country's deadly overdose crisis broke out over the weekend.
"No deal is better than a bad deal," said Andrew Kolodny, founder and CEO of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.
Kolodny, a longtime critic of opioid prescribing, said the proposed deal would have led to the Purdue pharma profited from future sales of the drug, largely responsible for creating an opioid epidemic that has cost 400.000 American lives over the past two decades.
Kolodny recently testified as Oklahoma star witness in a recent opioid malpractice case that ended in a $ 572 million trial against Johnson & Johnson.
Under the proposed agreement between Purdue and the US Attorney General throughout the US, Purdue was allegedly entrusted and the proceeds from the sale of medicines, including Oxycontin, would have been intended to pay for the costs incurred by states and municipalities in connection with the epidemic. of opioids.
"This has put states in a position to profit from future opioid sales at a time when they should really do what they can to encourage more cautious prescriptions," Kolodny said.
"It would have been a perverse incentive for states," he said.
On Saturday, the attorneys general involved in the talks said in a message to their colleagues across the country that negotiations with Purdue were at a standstill after Purdue and his Sackler family owners rejected two offers and that the family refused to offer. new terms.
"As a result, the negotiations are at a standstill and we expect Purdue to file for bankruptcy protection," wrote Herbert Slatery and Josh Stein, attorneys general of Tennessee and North Carolina.
But in a statement to NPR on Sunday, the drug company suggested a deal would still be possible.
"Purdue Pharma believes that a deal that benefits the American public is now a much better way than years of unnecessary litigation and appeals," the statement said. "These negotiations continue and we remain dedicated to a resolution that truly promotes the public interest."
Against a backdrop of protest against the Sacklers, which saw institutions of art and culture pick for Sackler's acceptance of philanthropic donations, the wealthy billionaires tried to avoid a judgment that could establish Purdue's responsibility for the public health crisis.
Currently, states and about 2.000 local governments will address the bankruptcy court for the company's remaining assets.
That result, Kolodny says, is preferable because under the $ 12 billion deal that was launched last week, records of Purdue's efforts to encourage over-prescription of opioids would have been erased.
"Watching the litigation continue sometime in the future is better because it offers the public a better opportunity to discover the irregularities that Purdue and the Sacklers were involved in and what really happened," said Kolodny.
The family, he said, recognized no wrongdoing - a continuation of an established pattern when Purdue resolved an earlier case of opioids in Oklahoma for $ 270 million.
"The Sacklers didn't take responsibility," he said.
Over the weekend, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, one of four attorneys general involved in negotiations, said he plans to sue the family.
“I think they are a group of sanctified billionaires who lied and cheated so they could make a sizable profit,” he said. "I really believe they have blood on their hands."
This is synonymous with Nan Goldin, the art photographer who led a protest campaign to force art institutions to divest Sackler donations and remove the family name from their donor lists.
Goldin described the earlier deal, rejected for $ 12 billion, in which Purdue would go bankrupt as "blackmail."
“The whole thing is orchestrated by the Sacklers and very well done, but underneath is highly questionable. We want them to be held personally responsible, and this will not be possible with this agreement, ”she said.
Family efforts to clear the name continue.
On Monday, the New York Post reported that heiress Joss Sackler had offered Courtney Love, a recovering opioid addict, more than $ 100.000 to attend her fashion week show.
Love said he had rejected the offer. "The Sackler family is not ashamed - I will not sell them," she told the newspaper.
The Sacklers had already rejected claims that they have some responsibility for the opioid crisis.
“Although the complainants' court files have created an erroneous image and resulted in unjustified criticism, we remain committed to playing a substantive role in addressing this complex public health crisis. Our heart is on people affected by drug abuse or addiction, ”said a family spokesman earlier this year.