Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to role in opioid crisis

Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to role in opioid crisis
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Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to criminal charges regarding its handling of the prescription drug OxyContin. The addictive painkiller greatly contributed to the United States' opioid crisis and now the pharmaceutical company has agreed to a deal with federal prosecutors to conclude the investigation into the company's involvement, according to The New York Times.

On Tuesday, a court hearing was conducted remotely before US district judge Madeline Cox Arleo in New Jersey. Purdue chairman Steve Miller entered the guilty plea on behalf of the company as he admitted to the company's criminal conduct during questioning from Ferketic.

Over the years, Purdue garnered more than $30 billion from sales of OxyContin further increasing the Sackler family's wealth, according to US and state officials. However, their windfall has reportedly came at the cost of more than 450,000 lives that have been lost to the opioid epidemic since 1999.

Another issue surrounding OxyContin was the kickback scheme. The company was accused of ignoring the actions of doctors who allegedly prescribed opioids improperly:

"In addition to the kickbacks and vendor scheme, between 2007 and 2017, Purdue ignored doctors suspected of improperly prescribing opioids that were flagged by its internal controls, and failed to report OxyContin prescriptions from these physicians to the Drug Enforcement Administration as legally required, according to prosecutors."

"The abuse and diversion of prescription opioids has contributed to a national tragedy of addiction and deaths," Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy attorney general, said in a statement. "Today's convictions underscore the department's commitment to its multipronged strategy for defeating the opioid crisis."

More than two dozen attorneys have expressed disdain regarding the idea of a plea deal arguing that "it effectively endorses a bankruptcy plan they contend would entangle local governments with a public benefit company that continues to sell OxyContin," according to The Guardian.

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