Politics & Government

Attorney General Josh Stein seeks information on opioid-maker family payments

Attorney General Josh Stein on opioid crisis

VIDEO: N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein tells why the opioid crisis was his top priority in his first year on the job during an interview in his office in Raleigh on Feb. 14, 2018.
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VIDEO: N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein tells why the opioid crisis was his top priority in his first year on the job during an interview in his office in Raleigh on Feb. 14, 2018.

State Attorney General Josh Stein wants Purdue Pharma to provide documents related to money made by the family that owns the company that makes OxyContin.

The state wants communications about the “exchange of money or other items of value” and documents about Purdue bonuses and salaries to members of the family that owns the company and its shareholders. Members of the Sackler family own Purdue Pharma. Richard Sackler is the company’s former CEO.

“Our office is looking for more information about Purdue’s finances,” Stein’s spokeswoman, Laura Brewer, said in an email.

The documents on Sackler family payments that Stein wants are part of a broader request filed in Wake Superior Court seeking information Purdue Pharma provided in connection with a national lawsuit. That lawsuit claims that manufacturers and distributors of opioids contributed to the drug crisis.

Stein sued Purdue Pharma in state court last year. His lawsuit against the Connecticut-based company claims that its deceptive marketing helped fuel the opioid crisis in North Carolina.

North Carolina lawyers representing Purdue Pharma did not respond to an email requesting comment.

The company could argue that it should not have to turn over the documents, and a court would decide whether it should, Brewer said.

“Our office believes there are solid grounds for this request,” Brewer wrote.

Purdue Pharma is facing nearly 2,000 lawsuits claiming the company stoked the opioid drug crisis, according to Reuters.

Massachusetts is one of the states suing, and on Jan. 31 its attorney general amended its lawsuit to claim that members of the Sackler family aggressively pushed for higher OxyContin sales, and then paid themselves and family members billions of dollars.

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