Biotech and Pharma

Sacklers withdrew over $10 billion in a decade from Purdue Pharma: NYT

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Key Points
  • The Sackler family — owners of Purdue Pharma — transferred more than $10 billion in a decade from the OxyContin maker to its trusts and holding companies, the New York Times reported.
  • The audit is likely to add further scrutiny on how much the Sackler family should pay to resolve lawsuits that Purdue Pharma face regarding the U.S. opioid epidemic, the New York Times added.
Protesters holding banners outside the courthouse. Members of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) and Truth Pharm staged a rally and die-in outside New York's Southern District Federal Court in White Plains.
Erik McGregor | LightRocket | Getty Images

The Sackler family — owners of Purdue Pharma — transferred more than $10 billion in a decade from the OxyContin maker to its trusts and holding companies, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing a new audit commissioned by the drugmaker.

The audit, which was prepared by consulting firm Alix Partners, is likely to add further scrutiny on how much the Sackler family should pay to resolve lawsuits that Purdue Pharma face regarding the U.S. opioid epidemic, the New York Times added.

Lawsuits filed by state and local governments allege Purdue and the Sacklers contributed to a public health crisis that has claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 people since 1999 by aggressively marketing opioids while downplaying their addiction and overdose risks.

The audit showed that from 2008 through 2017, Purdue's payouts to the Sackler family totaled $10.7 billion, the report said. The auditors reported that they did not know how much cash distributed to the Sacklers was actually used to pay taxes.

"These distribution numbers were known at the time the proposed settlement was agreed to by two dozen attorneys general and thousands of local governments," Daniel Connolly, attorney for the Raymond Sackler family, told CNBC.

Connolly added that these distribution numbers have been public for months and that "this filing reflects the fact that more than half was paid in taxes and reinvested in businesses that will be sold as part of the proposed settlement."

"We need full transparency into their total assets and must know whether they sheltered them in an effort to protect against creditors and victims," New York Attorney General Letitia James said.

Purdue reaped up to $13 billion in profits to Sackler family, the U.S. states said in October, opposing efforts to halt lawsuits alleging the company and its owners helped fuel the epidemic.

"We are committed to holding the Sacklers responsible for the role they played in fueling the opioid crisis and will not stop fighting until we have achieved justice for victims," James said.

The drugmaker had filed for bankruptcy protection in September to pause thousands of lawsuits while it tries to build support for a proposed settlement it estimates is worth $10 billion.

"The Sackler family hopes to reach a productive resolution where they contribute Purdue for the public benefit and provide at least $3 billion of additional money to help communities and people who need help now, which makes more sense for everyone than continuing litigation that only squander resources," Connolly told CNBC.

The audit report was filed on Monday evening in bankruptcy court in White Plains, New York, the New York Times said.

CNBC contributed to this report.