Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, entered a guilty plea before US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo on Tuesday for its involvement in the opioid crisis that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Steve Miller, chair of the board of directors at Purdue, entered the plea on behalf of the company.
The charges before Purdue are a dual-object conspiracy to defraud the United States and contravene the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and two counts of conspiracy to contravene a federal statute. Purdue’s plea deal was announced in October. The company will be paying almost $8 billion to the United States for its part in the opioid crisis that cost the states and the federal governments a lot more money according to the Department of Justice.
Purdue Pharma which filed for bankruptcy in 2019 will be discontinued and all of its assets will be used by a new public interest pharmaceutical company that will be established by the federal government for the benefit of the public. The new corporations will not be created to maximize profits but to help the public especially to help people who are battling opioid addiction. The proceeds from the company will also be used to pay Purdue’s penalties and fines.
The company told reporters that it is pleading guilty to take responsibility for all the misconduct it was involved in that caused the opioid crisis, CNN writes.
“The plea shows that we are taking responsibility for our misdeeds and it is necessary if we wish to move forward from here and continue offering our essential services, giving finances and lifesaving drugs to end the opioid crisis,” Purdue’s statement stated.
The company also stated that it will work tirelessly to amass extra backup for its bankruptcy settlement. A large part of the additional funds, Purdue explained will be used to assist state, local, and tribal governments all over the country in the fight against opioid addiction.
In 2018, data from the CDC revealed that about 70,000 Americans died as a result of drug overdose with similar high figures recorded in other years. According to the agency, 70% of the deaths in 2018 are a result of OxyContin prescriptions and other illicit opioids. In the same 2018, about 10.3 million US citizens, starting from residents as young as 12 years old used opioids when they didn’t have to, an act that most likely precedes addiction.
The Sackler family, owners of Purdue said to have withdrawn about $10 billion from the company during the crisis, and other officials of the company, old and current, could still be charged for their involvement according to reports.