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Transcript of Gerald Posner/Tucker Carlson interview about a potential miscarriage of justice in opioid litigation
Transcript of interview with Gerald Posner, author of PHARMA: Greed, Lies and the Poisoning of America, on Tucker Carlson, Friday, June 19, 2020.
TUCKER CARLSON: Add to the long and growing list of real issues our leaders seem to care nothing about, the opioid epidemic over the last 20 years has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, hundreds of thousands. It has killed far more than the coronavirus has or will, thanks to this year's lockdowns, 2020, could be the deadliest year yet for drug ODs in America. Many people who die are young people with promising futures.
Nobody deserves more blame for all of this than the Sackler family, they're the owners of a company called Purdue Pharma.
For years, the Sacklers made billions promoting the painkiller, OxyContin. They knew how addictive it was, they hid that fact. They lied.
The family could lose its fortune, an estimated $14 billion, but instead, they appear to be exploiting American Bankruptcy Courts to save almost all of it.
Gerald Posner is maybe the best known and most thorough investigative journalist in this country. There aren't many left. He's author of the book "Pharma" and we're happy to have him tonight.
Gerald, thanks so much for coming on. So --
GERALD POSNER, AUTHOR: Great to be with you.
TUCKER CARLSON: First of all, thank you for writing this book. It is a subject that has been basically ignored by the press, and so I'm glad that you didn't ignore it.
The Sacklers, we know from documents, we're aware to some extent of what was going on, how can they escape punishment? How could this be happening?
GERALD POSNER: It's absolutely infuriating, Tucker. As a matter of fact, you know, the Sacklers and Purdue, the company responsible for their blockbuster OxyContin, they already pleaded guilty, the company did back in 2007 to felonies for misbranding the drug and three of their executives also pled guilty and what did they do? What happens every time in the pharmaceutical business, they pay big fines, $600 million. It's the cost of doing business.
OxyContin content brought in $35 billion in revenue from the time it went on sale in 1996, and after they pled guilty in 2007, the company went on with the same behavior except on steroids and that's why as you said in your lead in, in 2015, "Forbes" made them -- put them on as one of the richest families in America at $14 billion.
This is a company that normally takes a high profile. They've got their names in six foot granted letters, as you know, on Columbia and Yale and Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian. And yet now, they're very low key, because they may be able to get away with a great miscarriage of justice in the Bankruptcy Court.
And you think, bankruptcy? How is it possible that a company with $14 billion, a family is in bankruptcy? Well, they aren't. Their company is.
Purdue filed last September, and they did a very clever thing. They went to the Bankruptcy Judge and said, oh, by the way, we have over 2,000 lawsuits against us as individual directors, eight family members and Purdue is sued. Why don't you give a stay of all the litigation against us right here and we'll cooperate in court and come up with a settlement.
They've offered $3 billion and you know what? They might be able to pull it off because no one is paying attention to it. And if they do, they will be able to leave with billions of dollars of their OxyContin profits. The victims will be badly served. There will be no justice in this case, no final report, no account of responsibility from the Sacklers, and that's why what we need is an independent examiner to be appointed in the bankruptcy case, but I don't see any movement for it.
TUCKER CARLSON: Very quickly. Can the State Attorneys General do anything about this?
GERALD POSNER: Their hands are tied by the Bankruptcy Court, which is remarkable. They had sued the Sacklers and here they are, all of a sudden, being told to go through the bankruptcy system, which is about reaching settlements for big companies not about reaching justice, unfortunately.
And remember, this is a family, as I discovered in the book, they were members of the Communist Party. The three brothers who bought Purdue in 1952, card carrying members of the Communist Party in the 40s and 50s.
Today, they're the ultimate example of capitalism gone awry with $14 billion of money earned off of one single drug, which, as you said, has killed hundreds of thousands of people. They're the poster child for the opioid epidemic, and how is it possible that they may be able to pull up this miscarriage of justice, it's a shame to the Justice Department and to what's happening in this country.
TUCKER CARLSON: Thank you for caring enough to write this book. Too few have. Mr. Posner --
GERALD POSNER: Thank you for being the only host to talk about this subject. Thank you.
TUCKER CARLSON: No, it's awful. It's absolutely awful. But we hope you have a great weekend nevertheless. We will see you Monday. Sean Hannity right now.
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