Purdue Pharma to plead guilty to federal criminal charges over opioid crisis

Summary and Analysis…

An apparent conclusion to the Federal prosecution of the Sackler family company for its part in bringing on the opioid crisis.

This does not, however, end litigation for the Sacklers. According to the article “about 2,800 cities, counties, Native American tribes and other groups have sued drug retailers, distributors and manufacturers, including Purdue, in a mammoth case that has been consolidated before a federal court judge in Cleveland.”

The state cases will continue and some Attorneys General disagree with the federal settlement because it doesn’t go far enough to undo Purdue’s actions to encourage over-use of its flagship opioid, OxyContin.

Excerpted from Washington Post

The Justice Department announced a historic $8.3 billion settlement Wednesday with OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, capping a long-running federal investigation into the company that, for critics, became a leading symbol of corporations profiting from America’s deadly addiction to opioid painkillers.

As part of the deal — the largest such settlement ever reached with a pharmaceutical company, officials said — Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to three felonies. But state authorities and families who have lost loved ones to its products said the Justice Department’s terms, which include a $225 million civil settlement with the billionaire Sackler family that once ran the firm, are too lenient.

Wednesday’s announcement comes as the Justice Department has pushed to settle a number of outstanding investigations involving major corporations. Administrations often seek to resolve significant cases as they near the possible end of their time in office, and with Election Day drawing near, the Trump administration has pushed to finalize a number of such matters this month. A multibillion-dollar settlement with Goldman Sachs over alleged financial misdeeds is expected to be announced later this week.

While numerous other lawsuits and court fights over opioids will continue, the Purdue Pharma settlement highlights how, for more than two decades, the widespread problem of overprescribing, diverting and abusing pain pills raged across America while drug manufacturers, distributors, pharmacists and doctors profited from the problem and largely deflected responsibility.