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Ex-president of Purdue Pharma denies responsibility for opioid crisis

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AP — The former president and board chair of the company that makes OxyContin told a court on Wednesday that he, his family and the company did not cause the opioid crisis in the United States.

Richard Sackler, a member of the family that owns Purdue Pharma, was asked under oath during a federal bankruptcy hearing whether he, his kin or the company bear responsibility. For each, Sackler answered simply: “No.”

In statements and court papers, Sackler family members have consistently denied wrongdoing in the opioid crisis, even as the company they own has twice pleaded guilty to federal crimes over their opioid practices.

But it’s rare for family members to be asked about it point-blank in open court. The hearing in federal bankruptcy court in White Plains, New York, was held via videoconference.

Richard Sackler has not appeared in public forums in recent years outside video of a deposition he gave in a lawsuit in 2015. His denial of responsibility for the opioid crisis comes a day after his son testified that the family wouldn’t accept a settlement without guarantees of immunity from further legal action.

US Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain said Wednesday that he expected testimony to be completed on Thursday and final arguments to begin Monday, and that a decision is likely later next week.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Richard Sackler said he had laryngitis, and his voice was sometimes soft.

In response to more than three hours of questions, mostly from Maryland Assistant Attorney General Brian Edmunds, his most common answer was, “I don’t recall.”

Sackler, whose father was one of three brothers who nearly 70 years ago bought the company that later became Purdue Pharma,........

© The Times of Israel

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