The former President and Chairman of the Board of Purdue Pharma stated in court on Wednesday that he, his family and the company are not responsible for the opioid crisis in the United States.

Richard Sackler, a member of the family that owns the company, was asked at a federal bankruptcy hearing in White Plains, New York whether everyone is liable and whether the judge should accept the OxyContin manufacturer’s plan to resolve thousands of lawsuits .

For each one, he gave a one-word answer: “No.”

Richard Sackler’s denial of responsibility for the opioid crisis is when another Sackler family member stated that if there is no guarantee of immunity from further legal action, the organization will not accept the settlement agreement the next day.

The 76-year-old Richard Sackler’s previous remarks were at the core of the lawsuit, accusing the Stanford, Connecticut-based company of playing an important role in sparking a nationwide opioid epidemic.

During the launch of OxyContin sales in 1996, he told the company’s sales staff that there will be “a large number of prescriptions that will obscure competition.”

Five years later, it became clear that this powerful prescription painkiller was abused in some cases. He said in an e-mail that Purdue Pharmaceuticals would have to “attack abusers in every possible way” and remove them. Described as the “culprit.” problem”.

For these reasons, activists opposed to companies involved in the sale of opioids often referred to Richard Sackler (CEO of the company from 1999 to 2003, chairman of the board of directors from 2004 to 2007, and board of directors from 1990 to 2018). Member) as the main character villain.

In recent years, he has not appeared on public forums except for the video of his testimony in the 2015 lawsuit.

At a video conference hearing on Wednesday, Sackler, 76, said he had laryngitis and his voice was sometimes very quiet.

When answering more than three hours of questions, mainly from Maryland Assistant Attorney General Brian Edmonds, his most common answer was, “I don’t remember.”

In a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, a pharmacist holds a bottle of OxyContin produced by Purdue Pharmaceuticals [File: George Frey/Reuters]

Sackler’s father was one of the three brothers who bought this company nearly 70 years ago and later became Purdue Pharmaceuticals. He does not remember the email he wrote ten or more years ago. Did Purdue Pharma’s board of directors approve certain sales strategies; whether a company owned by a member of the Sackler family sells opioids in Argentina; or whether he paid his own money as part of a settlement agreement with Oklahoma, the Sackler family Contributed 75 million USD to this end.

Usually, he uses more questions to answer questions, requiring precision.

When Edmunds asked him if he knew how many people died from opioid use in the United States, Sackler asked him to specify the time period.

Edmunds did it: 2005-2017.

“I don’t know,” Sackler said. However, he said he had seen some statistics on the number of deaths in the past.

Since 2000, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has counted more than 500,000 deaths from opioid overdose in the United States, including prescription drugs and illegal drugs such as heroin and illegally produced fentanyl.

At another point, Edmonds asked if he had ever had a conversation with the sales manager.

“Can you define what you mean by sales manager?” Sackler asked.

Edmunds did it. Then Sackler said that he did not remember any such conversation.

A man looks at a cardboard tombstone engraved with the name of a victim of opioid abuse outside the court where Purdue Pharmaceuticals Bankruptcy in White Plains, New York, USA [File: Seth Wenig/Reuters]

Edmunds once asked about disagreements about the company’s sales goals. Sackler corrected him.

“You used the word controversy,” he said. “This is not a dispute. This is a difference of opinion.”

Sackler’s testimony came the day after his son David Sackler gave testimony.

The young Sackler also served on Purdue Pharma’s board of directors. He reiterated the family’s long-standing position: only if family members are protected from lawsuits for opioids and other corporate actions, they will Agreed to reorganize part of Purdue Pharma’s plan.

David Sackler said that if these terms are not retained in the transaction, then the family will face lawsuits. “I believe we will sue the final result of the claim,” he said.

On Wednesday, Richard Sackler said that if the state that opposed the transaction was not bound by the transaction and was allowed to continue to file lawsuits against the company and family members, the family would not agree.

According to the proposed settlement agreement, members of the Sackler family will give up ownership of Purdue Pharma and contribute $4.5 billion in cash and control of charitable funds over time. Most of the funds and the company’s future profits will be used to alleviate the opioid crisis. Some people will go to individual victims and their families.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Delane said on Wednesday that he expects to complete his testimony on Thursday, start the final debate on Monday, and make a decision later next week.

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