Company operations should also cease domestically and internationally

For Immediate Release: July 8, 2021

Contact: Peter Jasinski |

BOSTON – Senator John F. Keenan is calling for individual members of the Sackler family to face criminal charges for their role in the opioid epidemic, following Thursday’s announcement that the Commonwealth’s lawsuit against the family and its company, Purdue Pharma, is resolved.

“I want to thank Attorney General Maura Healey and her staff for their steadfast commitment to bringing Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family to account for their roles in the ongoing opioid epidemic,” said Senator John F. Keenan, (D-Quincy). “The millions of dollars the Commonwealth will receive to address statewide substance use issues will help mend some of the damage this family and this company have inflicted on our friends, neighbors, and family members.”

As a result of Thursday’s resolution, the Sacklers will have to pay $4.3 billion in funding for prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts across the country. Of that sum, Massachusetts is expected to receive an estimated $90 million.

“While the bankruptcy court settlement announced today is substantial, I believe that members of the Sackler family who directed and profited from the marketing of OxyContin should face federal criminal charges as well,” said Senator Keenan.

“I also believe that Purdue Pharma, in its present or any successor corporate form, here in the United States and abroad, should be permanently dissolved, and all its officers and directors prohibited from engaging in or profiting from the development and marketing of any opioid medications. Ensuring this company can no longer function in any capacity is the surest way of preventing any further needless loss of human life.”

Thursday’s resolution will also require Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers to disclose legal documents dating back 20 years that trace their activities in the opioid market, as well as their knowledge of the opioid crisis. Roughly 30 million documents will now become publicly accessible, including attorney client privileged communications about tactics used to promote opioid sales.

“The release of documents that have been protected will, I hope, send a message to all about the unacceptability of unethical product marketing behaviors,” said Senator Keenan. “Anyone with intentions of harming the public should know they run the risk of being shamed and held accountable for their inexcusable actions.”

In just the last five years, communities in the Norfolk & Plymouth Senate District have lost more than 364 residents to overdose deaths. The city of Quincy alone has reported more than 200 deaths since 2016. Statewide, Massachusetts reported a total 2,035 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths in 2020, a 5% increase over 2019.