OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pleads guilty in criminal case

Purdue Pharma headquarters is located in Stamford, Connecticut on April 2, 2019 in downtown Stamford.

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Purdue Pharma on Tuesday pleaded guilty to three criminal charges, formally acknowledging its role in an opioid epidemic that has contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths over the past two decades.

In a virtual hearing with a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, the Oxycopt manufacturer interrupted the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s efforts to tackle the drug problem. Purdue acknowledged that it did not maintain an effective program to prevent prescription drugs from being taken to the black market, even though it had told the DEA that there was such a program, and it mislead the agency to promote it One way to give is company manufacturing quota.

It paid doctors through a speakers program to inspire them to write more prescriptions for their painkillers.

The guilty pleas were recorded by Purdue board chairman Steve Miller on behalf of the company. They were part of a criminal and civil settlement announced last month between a Stamford, Connecticut-based company and the Department of Justice.

The deal includes fines and forfeitures of $ 8.3 billion, but the company is on the hook for only paying a fraction of the $ 225 million directly to the federal government. It will pay a small amount as long as it executes a settlement with state and local governments and other entities moving through federal bankruptcy court and it sues the toll of the opioid epidemic.

Members of the wealthy Sackler family, who own the company, have also agreed to pay $ 225 million to the federal government to settle civil claims. No criminal charges have been laid against family members, although their deal is likely to be in the future.

Purdue’s plea to federal offenses provides only minor comfort for advocates who want to see harsher penalties for the helicopter manufacturer and its owners. The ongoing drug overdose crisis, which appears to be worsening during the coronovirus epidemic, has contributed to the deaths of more than 470,000 Americans over the past two decades, most of them legal and illegal opioids.

The Attorney General for nearly half of the states opposed the federal settlement as well as the company’s proposed settlement in bankruptcy court. In the case of bankruptcy, Purdue proposes to turn it into a public benefit corporation, which is going to help deal with the income crisis.

The attorney general and some activists are angry that despite the Sacklers relinquishing control of the company, the family remains wealthy and its members will not face jail or other personal penalties.

Activists say there is no difference in the actions of the company and its owners, who also controlled Purdue’s board for the past few years.