• Matt Esnayra

Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty to 3 Criminal Charges, Agrees to $8 Billion Settlement

Purdue Pharma, the manufactures of the painkiller OxyContin, has agreed to a global settlement by pleading guilty to three federal criminal charges, close the company and pay an $8.3 billion compensation, the U.S Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Why it matters:

The settlement is the first time a major pharmaceutical company was held responsible for causing the opioid crisis connected to more than 400,000 opioid related-deaths since 2000.

The settlement:

Purdue Pharma has agreed to plead guilty to three-count felony charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

  • Purdue agreed to a $3.544 billion fine, a $2 billion in criminal forfeiture, and the company has also agreed to pay $2.8 billion in damages to the United States.

  • The company filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

  • "The Sackler family has agreed to pay $225 million in damages to resolve its civil False Claims Act liability."

  • As part of the resolution, Purdue Pharma acknowledged that it hindered the D.E.A by "falsely representing that it had maintained an effective program to avoid drug diversion and by reporting misleading information to the agency to boost the company’s manufacturing quotas," per the AP.

  • "The agreed resolution, if approved, will require that the company must dissolve and no longer exist in its present form, the Sacklers must relinquish all ownership and control of the company, and the assets must be transferred to a new public benefit company or PBC owned by a trust for the benefit the American public," Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen announced.

  • The settlement doesn't protect the Sacklers or other owners and executives from criminal liability.

What they're saying:

  • First Lady Melania Trump tweeted, "This is admin will never stop fighting for the health & safety of the American people. This is another big step in defeating the #opioidcrisis. We will continue to protect our most vulnerable at all costs. #BeBest"

  • Steve Miller, chairman of Purdue Pharma, stated, “Purdue deeply regrets and accepts responsibility for the misconduct detailed by the Department of Justice in the agreed statement of facts,” per AP.

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