Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Why Aren’t the Sacklers in Jail, Facing Murder Charges?

It’s a fair question.

210,000 Americans (and counting) are dead from an opioid epidemic in which Purdue Pharmaceutical was a major force, if not the driving force.

It’s a private company. The Sackler family owns it. The family fortune is estimated at $13 billion.

(Wikipedia) In 2007 it paid out one of the largest fines ever levied against a pharmaceutical firm for mislabeling its product OxyContin, and three executives were found guilty of criminal charges.

Craig Landau was appointed CEO on June 22, 2017. He joined Purdue Pharma L.P. in 1999 and was chief medical officer and as vice president of R&D innovation, clinical and medical affairs. By 2018, eight members of the Sackler family were listed to be active or former members of the Board of Directors. By early 2019, the Sacklers had left the Purdue Pharma board, leaving none on the panel. Steve Miller became chairman in July 2018, with a current board left of five members.

So, let’s parse that a bit.

Purdue’s sole business is pain-relief medicines. That’s all they do and that’s the sole source of the Sackler family fortune. They knew (or had reason to know) that OxyContin was addictive as early as 2007 and caused deaths from mis-use and over-use. Yet they continued to flog it.

When things began to heat up, all the Sacklers fled the Board for safer climes.

Since 1999, Craig Landau, their newly appointed CEO had been chief medical officer and vice president of R&D innovation, clinical and medical affairs. No such executive could possibly be unaware of what was going on and yet they continued to flog.

Mafia-like? You tell me. But there is a difference, Mafia kingpins go to jail.

Rather than jail, where (in my opinion) they ought to be, Purdue and the Sacklers are in negotiation with a tentative deal with 22 state attorneys general and more than 2,000 cities and counties. Those negotiations are foundering at the moment because the Sacklers are refusing to kick their personal fortunes into the settlement.

Jesus, better that than life in prison. But there was no threat of life in prison. That was never on the table.

Over 200,000 Americans dead.

The settlement was said to return the most fair and equitable money-recovery to the injured public, eliminating long and costly legal pursuits.

Just ask how many families and friends of the dead would trade a few bucks for their losses. Fair and equitable for those who willingly and profitably murder their fellow citizens is life in prison.

Was it willingly and profitably? Was it murder? That’s defined as ‘the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.’

Only a jury can decide, but to uphold any sense of justice those charges must be brought and taken to their logical conclusion.

The fact that such a move has not been taken is simply one more occasion where money replaces justice. The ordinary Joe on the street is not blind to the fact that our prisons are chock full of minor drug dealers serving life terms for peddling far fewer and far less dangerous drugs.

And we kid ourselves that “Justice is Blind.”

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