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Gillibrand: Drug manufacturers should be prosecuted for opioid crisis

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said during an MSNBC town hall Monday that drug manufacturers like the Sackler family, which founded Purdue Pharma, should be prosecuted for their role in exacerbating the opioid crisis.

"What we have to do is take on the drug manufacturers, who purposefully made these [drugs] stronger, more addictive — and now that we have the documents, we know that they did it because they wanted record sales. ... They should be prosecuted. What we know from the evidence that's been gleaned from what the Sackler family did, and how they looked at drugs as a way to make billions of dollars, and making sure that the dosage is higher so they are more addictive, the way they dampened down any investigation, any transparency and accountability — that is what we have to take on."

The backdrop: The Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of opioid painkillers including OxyContin. The company is currently fighting a court challenge that has become the first major legal battle between public officials and the companies involved with making, distributing and selling prescription painkillers.