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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Vermont Sues OxyContin Maker for Its Role in the Opiate Crisis

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 5:34 PM

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan. - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan.
Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, alleging that the company's aggressive promotion of the drug helped spark the deadly and costly opiate-addiction crisis.

"Purdue Pharma lied, they misrepresented, they fabricated," Donovan said during a press conference outside Chittenden Superior Court, where the lawsuit was filed. "And they spread falsehoods, and they made billions off it — and they created a path of destruction that the State of Vermont is still reeling from."

Donovan said he decided to sue after settlement talks between Purdue, Vermont and other states broke down. The attorney general said he is still open to a settlement, possibly involving other states. But he repeatedly stressed that Vermont has a "compelling story to tell" should it continue to go it alone against the manufacturer of the powerful pain-relief drug.

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Opinion
Walters: Ethics Panel Ponders Sale of Scott's Business

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 5:15 PM

Paul Burns - JOHN WALTERS
  • John Walters
  • Paul Burns
Updated at 7:50 a.m., September 6, 2018.

The Vermont State Ethics Commission voted Wednesday to consider the propriety of Gov. Phil Scott's financial ties to a construction firm that does business with the state.

The Vermont Public Interest Research Group formally requested an advisory opinion on the matter in an August 31 letter. At a Wednesday meeting, the five commissioners asked the panel's executive director, Brian Leven, to write a draft opinion for their consideration.

When Scott became governor, he sold his half-interest in DuBois Construction to the company for $2.5 million. There was no down payment, and so far Scott has been receiving interest-only payments. (In 2017, those payments totaled $75,000.) Technically, Scott had divested himself of his ownership interest. But the bulk of his net worth remains tied up in the loan, which gives him a strong financial interest in DuBois' success.

Last week, Scott disclosed a recent ownership change at the company. According to VTDigger.org, Scott's former partner, Don DuBois, has sold his half-interest to company president Jeff Newton and vice president Wayne Lamberton. The deal increases the firm's debt load, but Scott expressed confidence that its finances remain sound.

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