Connecticut, General William, Mr Tongue discussed on As It Happens from CBC Radio


From. Cbc podcasts and the fifth estate brainwashed is a multi part investigation into the cia experiments in mind control from the cold war and k. Ultra to the so called war on terror. We learn about a psychiatrist who use his patients as human guinea pigs. And what happens when the military and medicine collide. Listen to brainwashed on the cbc. Listen app or wherever you get your podcasts. It's been nearly three decades. Since purdue pharma patented it's oxycontin pain medication and in the years since the opioid epidemic has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and affected many many more it's also led to thousands of lawsuits against the company and ultimately it's bankruptcy but a bankruptcy settlement reached yesterday effectively absolves the wealthy family that owns purdue of any opioid related liability. And it leaves the sackler family. Fortune largely intact. That is an connecticut attorney. General william. tong plans to appeal. We reached mr tongue in stamford connecticut. Mr tong why are you so keen to see members of the sackler family held accountable as individuals. Why isn't the demise of their company. Good enough because they've done so much damage as individuals and in their own capacity a number of them served in important positions not just on the board of directors but also in executive positions Some of them exercised leadership positions and there are a lot of documents a lot of evidence that shows that they were personally engaged directing this guy that gee up the company that took advantage of the opioid addiction crisis. You not just in the united states but around the world and profited off of it and knew they were doing and and even so went forward in profiteered off of the suffering of other people the settlement as is does order the sackler family to turnover four and a half billion dollars to address the opioid epidemic d-. Isn't that a win. no. I don't think you can ever say that anything in this is a win when you talk to victims and their families and the fact that just this year alone connecticut will lose close to fourteen hundred residents but let me put it in perspective I've just helped broker a twenty six billion dollar settlement with three major drug distributors mayor source bergen cardinal and mckesson in johnson and johnson. And while we can all acknowledge there will never be enough money and never enough justice. That's twenty six billion dollars. In accountability and twenty six billion dollars that will go to fund treatment and prevention the sackler lers and purdue played a seminal and central role in this crisis and they're purporting to pay four point three billion over nine years so let's break that down four point. Three billion over nine years on a net present value basis is about three billion in change. It also means they're going to be paying in installments. You would pay a carlo right. So they're going to pay less than five hundred million dollars Over the next nine years based on their well which exceeds more than eleven billion dollars. That means the sacco's are gonna pay roughly five percent on their money for nine years. They're gonna more than make up for that amount in their offshore investment accounts in investment funds. They're going to be five percent. That's that's basically the interest car payment. Does that seem right to you. I don't think it seems right to most people in my state. No and i think everybody in this case has expressed that frustration. The judge himself called it a bitter result but they felt they had to sort of get to a point where some money was being put in place at to try to do some good and that this was they felt the best they could otherwise this would just be years more and more fighting and less actual help for the people who need it. I mean if you said to me at the beginning of this process william this is going to cost a lot of money and a lot of lawyers And and attorney's fees and experts and hear. Why don't we say to avoid all of that. Let's settle for two billion dollars right. You could've made a an argument. Three years ago that i could settle it. Two billion or one billion now that starts with a b. That's a lot of money but nobody would say that. That was enough and so no. There is This is not always a science. But i think we know that Justice demands accountability. And the message. This court is sending is commit the crime of the century. And you'll probably get away with it and that is not the right deterrence message so you promise to appeal this ruling as have a number of other jurisdictions. How optimistic are you that. Those appeals might succeed. We would not appeal. Were not very confident In our in our arguments in her claims the state of connecticut is asserting law enforcement claims. We're not just a trade creditor we're not owed money because we you know soul products too or did business with purdue pharma we have law enforcement claims consumer protection claims fraud claims against the sackler lers for their individual wrongdoing and states are sovereign just like other countries are sovereign. The state of connecticut has always remained sovereign. We delegated limited powers to the federal government. But last time. I checked the united states of america and no federal court anywhere as far as i can tell has ever said that they have the right to force states to give up our law enforcement claims known as police power planes and to force us to release doers. Like the sadler's so that's the basic argument on appeal. And i think we're going to win one of the things that really stood for us when we're reading through the statement from your office was around the need for changes to bankruptcy laws and bankruptcy reform in general that to keep wealthy bad actors. You say from misusing bankruptcy courts to escape justice. What what would you like to see happen on that front. So basically the sackler act is The bill that's been proposed essentially in both the us house and The us senate and what the bill says is it's wrong to force people to release clean against people who are not bankrupt. So let's.

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