OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to federal charges over role in opioid crisis

Stephanie Guerilus
·3 min read

Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma settled with the government for $8.3B

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pled guilty to federal charges after striking a deal with the government over the drug maker’s role in the opioid crisis.

Read More: OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to plead to 3 criminal charges

Purdue Pharma board chairman Steve Miller entered a guilty plea Tuesday on the company’s behalf and formally acknowledged its role in creating the opioid crisis, CNN reports. The company was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback statute.

Purdue thegrio.com
This Tuesday, May 8, 2007, file photo shows the Purdue Pharma logo at its offices in Stamford, Conn. (AP Photo/Douglas Healey, File)

The federal government accused Purdue Pharma of fostering an environment that enabled dependency on the powerful drug which it discontinued in 2018, according to prosecutors. As part of the deal, Miller admitted to Purdue Pharma conspiring to defraud the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the remote proceedings that were overseen by US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo.

Miller also admitted that the company did not make a full accounting of 1.4 million OxyContin prescriptions that were issued to questionable parties.

“Did Purdue knowingly and intentionally conspire with others to defraud the DEA?” asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Ferketic.

“Yes,” Miller replied.

“Did Purdue offer payments to health care providers in the form of speakers fees?” Ferketic later asked. Miller again replied, “Yes.”

“How does Purdue Pharma LP plead to the charges?” asked Judge Arleo.

“Guilty, your honor,” Miller responded.

As theGrio previously reported, Purdue Pharma agreed to settle with the government in October in an $8.3B deal. Purdue Pharma is also in the process of bankruptcy and Judge Robert Drain approved that settlement last week.

After the hearing, the company released a statement that reinforced their desire to take responsibility for their actions.

“Having our plea accepted in federal court, and taking responsibility for past misconduct, is an essential step to preserve billions of dollars of value for creditors and advance our goal of providing financial resources and lifesaving medicines to address the opioid crisis,” the statement said.

“We continue to work tirelessly to build additional support for a proposed bankruptcy settlement, which would direct the overwhelming majority of the settlement funds to state, local and tribal governments for the purpose of abating the opioid crisis.”

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The billionaire Seckler family who own Purdue Pharma were not a part of the day’s proceedings despite making an estimated $10B from OxyContin. They have not been charged.

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