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Guilty To Criminal Charges Agreed To By OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma

Guilty To Criminal Charges Agreed To By OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma
In the opioid crisis case in the United States, Purdue Pharma LP pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to its efforts in handling of its addictive prescription painkiller OxyContin. This acceptance of guilt brought to an end investigation into the drug maker’s role in the crisis and a deal that was previously struck between the company and US federal prosecutors.
Purdue pleaded guilty to three felonies related to widespread misconduct in a court hearing that was conducted remotely before US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in New Jersey.
Charges of a drawing up a conspiracy to defraud US officials and paying of illegal kickbacks to both doctors and an electronic healthcare records vendor called Practice Fusion in order to keep prescriptions of its opioid drugs flowing were part of the criminal violations brought against the company.
Part of Tuesday’s court proceedings also includes some of the family members of the billionaire Sackler family who own Purdue and were members of the company’s board previously. No criminal charges against the family members had been brought. An agreement to pay a separate $225 million in civil penalty was made by the family separately in October over charges of causing false claims for OxyContin to be made to government healthcare programs such as Medicare. The family members have denied the charges.
Individuals associated with Purdue, including owners, officers and directors, could be prosecuted by US officials, said Assistant US Attorney J. Stephen Ferketic. While they were on the board of Purdue, they had been absolutely ethical and responsible, Sackler family members have said, and added that they were assured the sales and marketing practices of the company were being performed according to legal and regulatory requirements.
The guilty plea on the company’s behalf was entered into by Purdue Chairman Steve Miller and under questioning from Ferketic, also admitted to the company’s criminal conduct. Violations of a federal anti-kickback law made up two of the three criminal counts against Purdue. The third against the Stamford, Connecticut-based company was related to defrauding the United States and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of the country.
More than $5.5 billion in penalties, most of which will go unpaid, was one of the elements of Purdue’s plea deal. In addition to trillions of dollars in unsecured claims as part of the bankruptcy proceedings of Purdue, a $3.54 billion criminal fine is also set to be included in the deal.
For a $2 billion criminal forfeiture, payment of $225 million was agreed to be paid by Purdue. The US Justice Department has decided to forego the rest of the amount if the bankruptcy reorganization of the company is completed which involves dissolving itself and transferring the assets to a “public benefit company” or similar entity.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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