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Jonathan Sackler, co-owner of Purdue Pharma and target of Colorado lawsuit, dies

Colorado is among the states that named Jonathan Sackler in its lawsuit seeking damages for Purdue's alleged role in the state's opioid crisis.

In this April 2, 2018 photo, pharmacist Steve Protzel poses for photos holding a bottle of OxyContin at Daniel's Pharmacy in San Francisco. (Jeff Chiu, AP file photo)

STAMFORD, Conn. — Jonathan Sackler, one of the owners of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, has died, the company confirmed.

Sackler died June 30, according to a court filing. He was 65 and the cause of death was cancer.

He was the son of Raymond Sackler, one the brothers who bought drug company Purdue Frederick in 1952, and served as an executive and board member for the company that was later renamed Purdue Pharma. Like other members of the Sackler family, he has stepped off the board of the company in recent years, though family members retain ownership.

The company is seeking bankruptcy protection as part of an effort to settle nearly 3,000 lawsuits brought against it by state and local governments that blame the company for sparking the opioid crisis that has killed more than 400,000 Americans since 2000. Hundreds of the lawsuits also name family members.

Colorado is among the states that named Jonathan Sackler in its lawsuit seeking damages for Purdue’s alleged role in the state’s opioid crisis.

MORE: Colorado expands lawsuit against opioid-maker Purdue Pharma to include its owners, the Sackler family

“The actions of the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma included sharing studies that they knew were misleading, claiming that this was an effective, long-term treatment that didn’t give rise to risks of addiction,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser told reporters at a news conference last year. “Those claims were verifiably false and ignored expert warnings. And they even undermined studies suggesting that there were addictive effects.”

Other members of the Sackler family named in Colorado’s lawsuit include Richard Sackler; Mortimer D.A. Sackler; Kathe Sackler; Ilene Sackler Lefcourt; Beverly Sackler; Theresa Sackler; and David Sackler.

The company’s settlement plan calls for the family, which has been listed among America’s wealthiest, to pay at least $3 billion and give up ownership of Purdue.

The Colorado Sun contributed to this report.


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