Former Purdue Pharma board members Dr. Kathe Sackler and David Sackler apologized for the harm caused by OxyContin but denied any responsibility for the country’s opioid crisis.
At a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday, committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked the Sacklers to apologize for their role in the crisis, but she was not satisfied with the response.
“I would be happy to apologize to the American people for all of the pain they’ve suffered and for the tragedies they’ve experienced in their families,” Kathe Sackler said. “I also am very angry. I’m angry that some people at Purdue broke the law.”
Maloney said that was not the apology she wanted. She then asked again if Sackler would apologize for her personal role in the crisis.
“I have struggled with that question,” Sackler said. “I have asked myself over many years, I have tried to figure out, is there anything that I could have done differently knowing what I knew then, not what I know now? And I have to say I can’t — there is nothing that I can find that I would have done differently based on what I believed and understood then[.]”
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Maloney then asked the same question of David Sackler, who similarly expressed sympathy while avoiding culpability.
“I will say to the American people I am deeply and profoundly sorry that OxyContin has played a role in any addiction and death,” hy het gesê. “While I believe that I conducted myself legally and ethically – and I believe the full record will demonstrate that — I still feel absolutely terrible that a product created to help, that has helped so many people has also been associated with death and addiction.”
In 2007, Purdue reached a settlement agreement with the Justice Department to pay $ 600 million after facing charges for allegedly misbranding the drug, but that deal did not include any admission of wrongdoing by the Sacklers. Federal prosecutors also declined to bring any charges related to misleading consumers about the risk of possible addiction.
“There are many lawsuits that have blamed Purdue and my family for the opioid crisis,” David Sackler said during his opening remarks. “While we deny liability and are vigorously contesting these claims, we want to respond to the opioid crisis because a prescription medicine that our company manufactured and sold, which was never intended to harm anyone, ended up being part of a crisis that has harmed too many people.”