WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Purdue Pharma, maker OxyContin, entered a guilty plea deal with the federal government, admitting criminal charges.
- The company is set to directly pay the federal government $225 million for the civil claims, only a portion of the primary $8.3 billion deal.
- Advocates opposed the deal, saying they wanted to see harsher penalties to the company owners, including some Sackler family members.
On Tuesday, Purdue Pharma formally admits to three criminal charges, confessing its participation in the prevalent opioid supply that led to thousands of deaths over the last twenty years.
During an online proceeding with a Newark, New Jersey federal judge, the OxyContin producer admitted hampering the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s attempts to fight the drug dependency crisis. Purdue also confessed that it did not have an efficient response to stop prescription drug circulation to the black market. While the maker earlier told the DEA it had a program in place, it gave the agency false data to increase its manufacturing quota.
The company also said it was compensating doctors through a lecturer program to persuade them to hand out more prescriptions for its pain reliever.
Purdue likewise admitted hiring an electronic medical records company to provide doctors records on patients who convince them with opioids prescriptions.
The admission was motioned by Steve Miller, Purdue board chairperson, representing the company. The plea deal was a portion of a civil and criminal settlement pronounced last month between the Justice Department and the multi-billion USD company.
Part of the deal consists of the company’s payment of $8.3 billion, which includes penalties. Purdue was expected to directly pay the federal government of only a portion amounting to $225 million, provided it fulfills a settlement going to federal bankruptcy with local and state government courts, as well as other stakeholders charging with opioid epidemic casualties.
Some from the wealthy Sackler family, who owns the company, is also set to pay $225 million to the federal government intended for civil claims. While there are no criminal charges against family members, that is not impossible in the future.
Purdue’s deal with the federal government was only a minor victory for campaigners who pushes for stricter punishments for the OxyContin producer. Currently, there are over 470,000 Americans died from legal or unlawful opioid use, spanning over two decades.
Pennsylvania attorneys general opposed the company’s bankruptcy court settlement and its federal deal. In the bankruptcy arrangement, Purdue has offered to convert into a community benefit corporation with its proceeds funding the opioid crisis.
The advocates and attorneys general are dismayed that Sacklers remains rich and free from penalties and imprisonment without the company’s control.
The objectors say that Purdue owners are responsible since it has control over the company in the last few years. The opposing attorneys general was able to secure documentary evidence that showed members of the Sackler family’s involvement in the planning and strategizing in saving the business in any means, even if it was unlawful.