Colorado Adds Defendants to Opioid Lawsuit
Amended complaint makes new allegations for Purdue Pharma owners

by Jessica Folker
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Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Monday announced an update to the state’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma that adds former company executives and members of the Sackler family, who own Purdue, as defendants.

The amended complaint alleges the defendants violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act and the Colorado Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, according to a press release from Weiser’s office. Weiser said at a press conference that the Sacklers have been added as defendants because they took money out of the company, leaving Purdue with “less funds to right this wrong.” By updating the lawsuit, the state hopes to recover the funds to support drug treatment and recovery programs.

Colorado filed the original lawsuit in September 2018.  It alleged that Purdue distributed misleading studies and information about prescription opioids, maintained a list of Colorado medical professionals who prescribed the most opioids and rewarded sales representatives for pushing doctors to prescribe the drugs.

The state was required to file the amended complaint under seal because of a confidentiality agreement with Purdue, but Weiser said his office is seeking permission to release the full complaint.

“We believe we will be able to make it available soon,” he said. He added that many of the details in the complaint have already been made public in similar lawsuits filed by other states.

Individual family members and company executives listed in the amended complaint include Richard Sackler, Mortimer D.A. Sackler, Jonathan Sackler, Kathe Sackler, Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, Beverly Sackler, Theresa Sackler, David Sackler, Russell Gasdia, Mark Timney, Craig Landau and James David Haddox.

— Jessica Folker, [email protected]