Purdue Pharma Reaches $8.3 Bln Settlement Deal With Justice Department, To Plead Guilty

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced that Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin opioid painkiller, has agreed to pay $8.3 billion to settle three federal criminal charges for its role in fueling the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Purdue Pharma has agreed to plead guilty in federal court in New Jersey to a three-count felony charges, with one count of dual-object conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

The settlement is one of the largest penalties ever levied against a pharmaceutical manufacturer, including a criminal fine of $3.544 billion and an additional $2 billion in criminal forfeiture.

Purdue has also agreed to a civil settlement in the amount of $2.8 billion to resolve its civil liability under the False Claims Act.

Separately, the Sackler family has agreed to pay $225 million in damages to resolve its civil False Claims Act liability.

Further, the company would also cease to operate in its current form and would instead emerge from bankruptcy as a public benefit company. The settlement with the DoJ must receive court approval to go forward.

“Purdue deeply regrets and accepts responsibility for the misconduct detailed by the Department of Justice in the agreed statement of facts,” said Steve Miller, who joined Purdue’s Board as Chairman in July 2018. “Resolving the DOJ investigations is an essential step in our bankruptcy process.”

However, the company still faces thousands of opioid lawsuits brought by states and families.

Purdue’s popular prescription painkiller OxyContin, which was launched in the 1990s, was alleged to have triggered the opioid addiction that grew to an alarming rate in the U.S. It is estimated that more than 400,000 Americans have died of an opioid overdose since 2000, while around 11.4 million people have misused prescription opioids.

Various state and local governments have filed more than 2,000 lawsuits against major drug makers, alleging them to have aggressively marketed the painkillers despite knowing the risk of addiction.

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