Purdue Pharma, the company that makes the powerful opioid OxyContin, will reportedly plead guilty to three federal criminal charges Wednesday as part of a more than $8 billion settlement.
Purdue Pharma is pleading guilty to three charges, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and violating federal anti-kickback laws, according to the Associated Press (AP).
BREAKING: Justice Department officials tell The Associated Press that Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion. https://t.co/aooTUMXQ8N
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 21, 2020
The agreement doesn’t release any company executives or owners from criminal liability and a criminal investigation is ongoing.
As part of the agreement, Purdue will admit it impeded the Drug Enforcement Administration by falsely claiming it had an effective program to avoid drug diversion, as well as by reporting misleading information to the agency to boost their manufacturing quotas, per the same report.
Purdue is also set to admit to violating a federal anti-kickback law by paying doctors to incentivize them to write more prescriptions for the opioids and for using electronic health records software to influence the prescription of pain medications, the AP reports.
The company admits it violated federal law and “knowingly and intentionally conspired and agreed with others to aid and abet” the disbursement of powerful painkillers from doctors “without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice.” (RELATED: Bipartisan Report Accuses Purdue Pharma Of ‘Corruption’ UN’s Health Body)
Purdue is slated to pay $225 million toward a $2 billion criminal forfeiture to resolve investigations within the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to Reuters. The DOJ is allowing Purdue to forgo the rest of the payment as long as they complete a bankruptcy reorganization that turns the company into a “public benefit company” that would drive the unpaid portion to thousands of U.S. communities suing over the opioid crisis.
The company also faces a $3.54 billion criminal fine and will agree to pay $2.8 billion in damages to resolve its civil liability, per the AP.
Democratic members of Congress, state attorney generals and other advocates asked Attorney General William Barr not to make a bargain with the company, claiming it doesn’t serve justice to families torn apart by the opioid crisis.
“Millions of American families impacted by the opioid epidemic are looking to you and your Department for justice,” 38 Democratic members of Congress wrote, per the AP. “Justice for the sleepless nights spent worrying about sons and daughters trapped in the grip of substance use disorder, justice for the jobs lost and the lives ruined, and justice for the lives of loved ones lost to overdoses.”
Purdue has been under fire for involvement in fueling the opioid crisis. 44 states have sued the company, arguing they illegally marketed opioids and encouraged doctors to needlessly prescribe their products.
Roughly 200,000 opioid-related overdose deaths since 1999 are attributed to doctors over prescribing the opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Author: Brianna Lyman