Project Tango: Purdue Pharma’s Plan to Profit off Opioid Addiction

More than a dozen states have filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma for fueling the opioid epidemic that continues to destroy the lives of families and veterans across the country. However, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has taken a new approach when it comes to seeking retribution — going after the Sackler clan, the family responsible for running the pharmaceutical giant. Healey named 8 members of the Sackler family in a complaint that accused them of devising a “web of illegal deceit” designed to increase profits.

This past winter, the state’s Attorney General filed a brief revealing the existence of “Project Tango,” a strategy Kathe Sackler proposed in 2014 to the Purdue Pharma Board. Some of the key points regarding “Project Tango” include:

  • Purdue Pharma was completely aware that OxyContin and its other opioids were addictive and potentially deadly.
  • Sackler pitched the idea that the company should look into selling drugs to treat addiction. The plan was that first they would sell opioids to get people addicted, and then sell the drugs that treat the addiction.
  • Sackler’s team outlined how patients could potentially become addicted to painkillers like OxyContin and then eventually be converted into consumers of the company’s addiction treatment drug, suboxone.
  • Documents that were part of the project tracked the opioid addiction rate over a 5-year period and concluded that painkillers were addictive and that anyone could get hooked.
  • The proposal for the project was ultimately dropped, but interest about selling drugs to treat addiction remained and in 2016, the company considered marketing the overdose medication NARCAN to the same doctors who were prescribing high quantities of OxyContin.

As other company’s chose to distance themselves from the opioid market, Purdue Pharma’s new CEO, Craig Landau saw an opportunity for the company to take over the painkiller-peddling game.

Healy filed the suit in support of 670 Massachusetts citizens who became addicted and overdosed on OxyContin. In the civil suit, the state’s attorney general asked for “full and complete restitution to every person who has suffered any ascertainable loss by reason of their unlawful conduct.”

Aggressive Santa Barbara Veterans lawyers fight for opioid victims

The Bertling Law Group has more than 30 years of legal experience. If you or a loved one has suffered because of opioid addiction in California or elsewhere in the country, we want to be your voice. To find out more about how our dedicated legal team of Opioid Lawyers can help you, contact us at 844-295-7558 to schedule a free consultation today.