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Purdue to pay over $8bn to settle opioid-related criminal claims

Claims relate to Purdue's involvement in fuelling the opioid addiction crisis

Purdue Pharma has reached an $8m+ settlement with the US Department of Justice to avoid federal civil and criminal charges related to claims it helped fuel the country’s opioid epidemic.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Department of Justice said that Purdue has agreed to plead guilty in a federal court to one count of dual-object conspiracy to defraud the US and violate the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Acts, as well as two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

Collectively, Purdue will face a $3.54bn criminal penalty as well as be expected to forfeit an additional $2bn. The company will also pay $2.8bn to settle the civil claims and an additional $225m in civil charges will be forfeited by the Sackler family, who privately own Purdue.

Purdue is expected to pay $225m of the $2bn forfeiture on the effective date of the company’s bankruptcy, which it filed for last year.

As part of the bankruptcy agreement, a new company is set to be formed which will be governed by a new board selected by the claimants and approved by the bankruptcy court.

No members of the Sackler family or the company’s executives or employees will face criminal charges as part of the settlement.

The new company will provide opioid overdose reversal medication, as well as addiction treatment medications at no or low cost. It will also be permanently bound to injunctive relief, which includes marketing restrictions on the sale and promotion of opioids.

“The abuse and diversion of prescription opioids has contributed to a national tragedy of addiction and deaths, in addition to those caused by illicit street opioids,” said deputy attorney general Jeffrey Rosen.

“With criminal guilty pleas, a federal settlement of more than $8bn, and the dissolution of a company and repurposing its assets entirely for the public’s benefit, the resolution in today’s announcement re-affirms that the Department of Justice will not relent in its multi-pronged efforts to combat the opioids crisis,” he added.

Purdue is facing a host of lawsuits in the US from multiple states, with the new filings saying the company owes trillions for its role in fuelling the opioid crisis.

Filings made by 49 states in the US allege that Purdue pushed prescription painkillers on doctors and patients while knowingly minimising the harmful side effects of the drugs.

Purdue manufactured the prescription opioid painkiller OxyContin, which has become a focal point of the ongoing health crisis in the US.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

22nd October 2020

From: Regulatory

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