OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal charges
By Mike Spector
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Purdue Pharma LP pleaded guilty to handling its addictive prescription pain reliever, OxyContin, and entered into a contract with federal prosecutors to resolve an investigation into the drugmaker's role in the U.S. opioid crisis.
Purdue pleaded guilty to three crimes of widespread wrongdoing during a remote trial held Tuesday before US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in New Jersey.
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Criminal violations included conspiracy to defraud US officials and pay illegal setbacks to both doctors and an electronic health record provider called Practice Fusion. Https://www.reuters.com/article/us-purdue-pharma-investigation-opioids-e/exclusive -oxycontin-maker-purdue-is-pharma-co-x-in-us-opioid-kickback-probe- Sources-idUSKBN1ZR2RY, everything to keep opioid prescriptions going.
Members of the billionaire Sackler family who own Purdue and previously served on the company's board of directors were not part of Tuesday's trial and were not prosecuted. They agreed in October to pay a separate civil fine of $ 225 million for allegedly making false claims for OxyContin in government health programs like Medicare. You have denied the allegations.
U.S. assistant attorney J. Stephen Ferketic said officials reserved the right to prosecute anyone related to Purdue, including owners, officers and directors. Sackler's family members have stated that they have acted ethically and responsibly while serving on Purdue's board of directors and have been assured that the company's sales and marketing practices are in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements.
Purdue chairman Steve Miller admitted guilty on behalf of the company and admitted his criminal conduct under questioning of Ferketic. Of the three criminal charges against Purdue, two concerned violations of a federal kickback law, while another accused the Stamford, Connecticut-based company of defrauding the US and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Purdue's plea provides for fines of more than $ 5.5 billion, most of which will go unpaid. Purdue's bankruptcy process is contemplating a $ 3.54 billion fine along with $ trillion in unsecured claims.
Purdue agreed to pay $ 225 million for a $ 2 billion forfeit, with the Justice Department foregoing the remainder if the company goes through a bankruptcy reorganization that dissolves and transfers assets to a "not for profit" or "nonprofit" company Similar facility relocated, serving the unpaid portion of $ 1.775 billion. Thousands of US communities are suing it over the opioid crisis.
A conviction imposing these sentences is expected to come around the time Purdue receives judicial clearance to reorganize bankruptcy.
Purdue had previously resolved separate civil suits from the Justice Department and agreed on a $ 2.8 billion fine that is expected to bring little financial recovery in the drug maker's bankruptcy process.
The plea deal and other related settlements came under fire by Democrats on Capitol Hill, urging Purdue and its owners to face more serious consequences for their alleged role in the opioid crisis.
The company has earned more than $ 30 billion from sales of OxyContin over the years, enriching the Sackler family, according to US and state officials. According to the USA, around 450,000 people have died of opioid-related overdoses in the USA since 1999.
About two dozen attorneys general have spoken out against https://www.reuters.com/article/us-purdue-pharma-opioids-investigations/us-states-oppose-settlement-being-negotiated-by-oxycontin-maker-purdue- and-Ministry of Justice-letter-idUSKBN26Z2WJd the plea on the grounds that it is effectively advocating a bankruptcy plan they claim would involve local governments with a nonprofit that continues to sell OxyContin.
Purdue, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year, https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN1W1058, has proposed resolving thousands of legal disputes in a deal valued at more than $ 10 billion. This depends on donations of opioid reversal and addiction treatment drugs that are under development and a $ 3 billion cash contribution from the Sacklers, who would cede control of Purdue.
In addition to the setbacks and the provider system, Purdue ignored doctors suspected of improperly prescribing opioids flagged by its internal controls between 2007 and 2017, and did not report OxyContin prescriptions from those doctors to drug enforcement as required by law Administration prosecutors.
A Purdue subsidiary agreed in 2007 to plead guilty of wrongly naming OxyContin in a deal with prosecutors that resulted in fines of approximately $ 600 million.
(Reporting by Mike Spector in New York; Editing by Giles Elgood and Bill Berkrot)
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