OxiContin Maker To Pay Out Billions In Civil, Criminal Penalties
The makers of oxycontin one of the drugs blame for sending off the OPIOID crisis will plead guilty to federal criminal charges. The Justice Department announced those charges against Purdue Pharma yesterday as part of an eight billion dollar settlement NPR addiction correspondent Brian Man is with US Brian Good Morning. Steve, how's a settlement? GonNa work. Yeah. So if it's approved by a federal bankruptcy judge, Steve The purdue Pharma will admit to the three felony charges including a charge that they misled doctors about the safety of medications like Oxycontin, over time, then the company would pay out billions of dollars in civil and criminal penalties, Jeffrey Rosen, the deputy attorney general who outlined the agreement yesterday says the sackler family would also be forced to give up control of their company. Instead of being the owners of a major pharmaceutical company, they will have no stake in that company. Now that sounds like a lot but critics are pointing to the fact that Purdue Pharma was already in big trouble facing bankruptcy struggling to hold onto employees and flooded with thousands of lawsuits tied to the improper marketing of opioids, and despite all that under this deal does federal deal the sackler walk away with most of their personal fortunes intact by some estimates there worth as much as ten billion dollars because of OPIOID prophets, they'll pay a fraction of that in penalties only about two hundred, twenty, five, million dollars out of their own pockets and Steve. There are no criminal charges against them the sackler. Admit to know personal wrongdoing. Well, how do prosecutors explain the deal would include no criminal charges and the sackler not entirely but mostly giving up a pile of liabilities rather than a penalty they would really feel. Deputy. Attorney General. Rosen was asked about this yesterday and he says these penalties go as far as the government can right now holding purdue and the sackler accountable. There is no law that says if you've done something wrong, we should just simply strip somebody of all their assets in existence that's not how it works. It has to be that we are looking at specific ex wrongdoing civilly or criminally, and then having a proportionate response but a lot of people including more than two dozen state attorneys, general dozens of members of Congress advocates for people suffering from addiction. They all say, this isn't proportionate response. They say members of the sackler family played a personal role pushing the prescription opioid boom developing these illegal and deceptive marketing practices that made purdue. Pharma. So profitable the Tissue James is New York State Attorney General, and she's suing members of the. Sackler family, her team tracked hundreds of millions of dollars in opioid prophets that the sackler sent to offshore accounts. She told. NPR. This justice department deal doesn't go nearly far enough doesn't account the hundreds of thousands of deaths of millions of addictions caused by produce farmer in the sackler family all of destruction that they have caused it basically allows billionaires to keep their billions without any accounting for how much a really made James says her state probe of the sackler family will continue. Meanwhile, there's one more detailed, the settlement that sparking. Anger, it turns out purdue. Pharma doesn't actually have enough money left to pay out the billions of dollars agreed to in this settlement. So the plan is for the government to reorganize Purdue Pharma into what's known as a public benefit company that means prophets from future sales of opioids like oxycontin would be used to pay for drug treatment and rehabilitation programs around the country Greg mcneal lives in. Ohio. One of the states hit hardest by the OPIOID epidemic and he lost his son Sam to an overdose five years ago. He. Says this idea of the government getting into the OPIOID business now after it's caused so much harm. He says it just feels wrong it. It just seems ill advised having the government entered into that business. Gosh. There's something about that. That just doesn't doesn't add up at all. And I should say Steve Twenty five state attorneys general agree they signed a letter last week they send it to Attorney General William Bar arguing that this arrangement is ethically wrong and could shelter purdue Pharma and the sackler from future criminal or civil liability Brian Kennedy at least be said for the deal that there's some money here that might help people harmed by the. OPIOID. Epidemic. That will definitely that's what the Justice Department is saying. So let's take stock for a second nearly seventy two thousand people died from overdoses last year this is still ongoing. A lot of those were opioid deaths. What US attorneys say is if this deal is finalized by the bankruptcy court, it would mean extraordinary new resources for states and cities and tribal governments struggling to keep people alive. But one thing everyone agrees to here is that this problem is so big now affecting. So many Americans they say the eight billion dollars from purdue, Pharma is really just a drop in the bucket.