OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal charges | Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Purdue Pharma LP pleaded guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription painkiller OxyContin, capping a deal with federal prosecutors to resolve an investigation into the drugmaker’s role in the U.S. opioid crisis.
Members of the billionaire Sackler family who own Purdue and previously sat on the company’s board were not part of Tuesday’s court proceedings and have not been criminally charged. They agreed in October to pay a separate $225 million civil penalty for allegedly causing false claims for OxyContin to be made to government healthcare programs such as Medicare. They have denied the allegations.
Purdue’s plea deal carries more than $5.5 billion in penalties, most of which will go unpaid. A $3.54 billion criminal fine is set to be considered alongside trillions of dollars in unsecured claims as part of Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings.
Purdue earlier settled separate Justice Department civil claims, agreeing to a $2.8 billion penalty also expected to receive little financial recovery in the drugmaker’s bankruptcy case.
The plea deal and other related settlements have come under fire from Democrats on Capitol Hill calling for Purdue and its owners to face more severe consequences for their alleged roles in the opioid crisis.
The company reaped more than $30 billion from sales of OxyContin over the years, enriching Sackler family members, according to U.S. and state officials. Since 1999, roughly 450,000 people have died in the United States from opioid-related overdoses, according to U.S. data.
Purdue, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year here under an onslaught of litigation, has proposed settling thousands of lawsuits in a deal it values at more than $10 billion. That is contingent on donations of opioid reversal and addiction treatment medications it has under development and a $3 billion cash contribution from the Sacklers, who would cede control of Purdue.