Healey, Baker respond to Purdue in joint letter

Say company deceived prescribers and patients about its opioids

THREE WEEKS AFTER the chairman of Purdue Pharma argued in the pages of the Wall Street Journal against states suing his company to hold it responsible for the opioid crisis, Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey responded in the same newspaper.

The Republican governor and Democratic attorney general wrote a letter to the editor published Wednesday in which they say that Purdue knew its opioids were addictive and used “insidious” sales tactics.

“The company deceived prescribers and patients about its drugs. Purdue sold more than 70 million doses of opioids to Massachusetts patients, generating more than $500 million. Those patients struggled with overdoses and relapses. More than 670 died,” Baker and Healey wrote.

The 269-word letter to the editor also credited Healey’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for exposing how Purdue targeted specific communities and how eight people in the Sackler family, which owns the company, “made choices that caused much of the epidemic.”

Purdue Pharma Chairman Steve Miller wrote in the Journal in late May that it was “inaccurate and unfair” to blame Purdue for the opioid crisis and for states to use the court system to target a single manufacturer out of many that produce pain medicines.

“Litigation may satisfy the public’s desire for a scapegoat, but real long-term solutions are needed. The first step should be a constructive global resolution to the opioid litigation that helps suffering people and strained communities. There’s no time to waste,” Miller wrote.

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Matt Murphy

State House News Service
Baker and Healey, however, wrote that they “strongly disagree.”

“We have worked together to battle this epidemic, and will do whatever it takes to hold Purdue Pharma accountable and get the justice families so deserve,” their letter states.