World News – US – Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal charges for selling opioids


Justice Department announced $ 8 billion settlement with company Sackler family members to pay $ 225 million in civil penalties but criminal investigations continue

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of federal health agency fraud and violation of anti-bribery laws, and faces penalties of approximately 8 $ 3 billion, the Justice Department announced Wednesday

Company owners, members of the wealthy Sackler family, to pay $ 225 million in civil penalties

Wednesday’s announcement does not end the broad litigation against Purdue, but it represents a significant step forward in the long legal march of states, cities and counties to force the main defendant of the opioid epidemic to help pay for the public health crisis which has resulted in the deaths of more than 450,000 Americans since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Nonetheless, the company is unlikely to end up paying anything close to the $ 8 billion negotiated as part of the settlement deal is because it is in bankruptcy court and that the federal government will have to take its place in a long line of creditors As a rule, creditors end up collecting pennies on the dollar

And the federal case against Purdue is separate from the thousands of opioid-related lawsuits against other drugmakers, as well as distributors and drugstore chains, still pending in federal and state courts

Purdue has long demanded that the federal charges against it be resolved before reaching a broader settlement with thousands of cities, tribes, states and individuals claiming its relentless marketing of OxyContin directly contributed to the costs. high health care and law enforcement and unemployment Lawyers close to negotiations expect final settlement to emerge early next year

Penalties against Purdue include $ 3.54 billion in criminal fines, $ 2 billion in criminal forfeiture and $ 2.8 billion in civil penalties, related to violating federal monitoring requirements for drug promotion and sales programmed, contributing to false Medicare and Medicaid claims, and participating in a bribe program with a software company that would alert doctors to promote OxyContin

This is the first time since 2007 that Purdue has pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for misleading doctors, patients and the government about his drug At the time, the company paid $ 600 million dollars in fines

To resolve local lawsuits, Purdue has proposed a global settlement that it estimates at around $ 10 billion This figure includes future profits from drugs still in development as well as a $ 3 billion contribution from the Sacklers

A year ago, under the weight of an opioid litigation, Purdue filed for bankruptcy court protection from which he is expected to emerge at some point as a new company Judge Robert D Drain, who Overseeing Bankruptcy Case in White Plains, WE Will Review Long List of Unsecured Creditors Alongside Federal Sanctions But $ 2 Billion Federal Criminal Forfeiture Sentence Stands Out and Has Much More Strength The Justice Department Says Wednesday that he would demand that Purdue pay only $ 225 million of that amount directly and spend the rest on municipalities, states and tribes, provided they allocate the money to alleviate local opioid crises

A second condition of the unusual government-to-government designation, however, sparked an uproar from 25 attorneys general: ownership of Purdue, following its exit from bankruptcy

Purdue has proposed that the company be run as a « public utility », with proceeds from the continued limited sale of OxyContin and several anti-overdose drugs in development to reduce opioids. Justice approves this model

But in a forceful letter to Attorney General William P Barr earlier this month, attorneys general denounced the model of public trust and its association with government entities Governments should not be in the business of opioids, they said Instead, they said Purdue should be managed in private, under government watch

Another objection to Wednesday’s settlement relates to settling civil lawsuits against individual Sacklers, raised by private families suing A forensic audit last year by Purdue found that the Sacklers had led at least $ 10 $ 7 billion of the company’s proceeds to family trusts and holding companies, even as Purdue faced legal review

The families’ letter says Justice Department deal too early and too little Massachusetts, for example, has scheduled depositions against some Sacklers in November, in which more information could to be revealed

“The DOJ failed,” said Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts “Justice in this case requires exposing the truth and holding the perpetrators accountable, not rushing a settlement to beat an election I don’t am not done with Purdue and the Sacklers, and I will never sell the families who have been calling for justice for so long « 

In addition to paying $ 3 billion to resolve thousands of other lawsuits, the family agreed to hand over ownership of the business

A contentious issue regarding the Sacklers is that the family themselves are not seeking bankruptcy protection and have requested discharge from the litigation as a condition of settling the Purdue claims

Joe Rice, executive committee negotiator of thousands of local governments, favors the broad outlines of a public interest trust « You have to understand what you are doing with the limited need that there may be for certain opioids. don’t maximize the value of the Purdue asset if you totally destroy the product, ”he said « And you want to make sure that the people who abused the right to sell narcotics pay for what they did The Sacklers lose their names, their businesses and more »

The terms of settlement announced by the Justice Department on Wednesday, including direct payments to the federal government from the company and the Sacklers, are subject to Judge Drain’s approval

Purdue Pharma, oxycodone, opioid, United States Department of Justice

World news – United States – Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal prosecution for sale of opioids


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