“These are examples of an overriding theme in the complaint against the Sacklers,” said a lawyer for the families. “If you look at everything in the most dated and cynical way, then you can make anything sound terrible.”
There were other new disclosures in the latest filings in the New York case:
■ Purdue employees knew as early as 1999 that people were abusing OxyContin and knew the ways they were doing so. In an internal email to a senior executive, an employee disputed the claim that some abusers of the drug “shoot,” or inject, it, saying that they crushed the tablets and snorted the powder. “Injection is not too popular because the waxy junk in the tablets can mess up the user’s veins,” the employee wrote. “At least, that’s what I’ve read,” the email said. “I understand that OxyContin is the preferred drug,” the email said.
■ Purdue Pharma spent $68 million from 2006 to 2016 on opioid education, much of it directed to front groups, and $1.5 million in New York in roughly the same period to push its message “through seemingly legitimate sources,” according to the complaint.
■ Mallinckrodt paid $300,000 to a Kansas doctor, Sri Nalamachu, who was featured in a brochure in which “he criticized efforts to restrict access to pain prescription medication due to concerns” about opioid abuse, the complaint said. The payment was never disclosed, in the brochure or elsewhere.
■ An executive at a regional drug distribution company asked a Mallinckrodt executive to keep supplying the opioid oxycodone. It’s “like people are addicted to these things. Oh, wait, people are,” the first executive wrote. The Mallinckrodt executive responded that it was “just like Doritos.”
“Keep eating,” he added, “we’ll make more.”