(Reuters) – Purdue Pharma LP pleaded guilty to criminal charges for handling its addictive prescription painkiller OxyContin, and covered an agreement with federal prosecutors to solve an investigation into the drug maker's role in the US opioid crisis.
A lengthy court hearing on Tuesday in front of U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in New Jersey, Purdue pleaded guilty to three counts of gross misconduct.
The criminal offenses included conspiracy to defraud US officials and pay illegal setbacks to both doctors and electronic health. health care provider, all to help keep medically questionable opioid prescriptions flowing.
Members of the billionaire Sackler family who own Purdue were not included in Tuesday's trial and have not been charged with any crime. They agreed in October to pay a separate $ 225 million penalty fee for allegedly causing false claims on OxyContin to state health care programs such as Medicare. They have denied the allegations.
Purdue Chairman Steve Miller agreed on the guilty plea on behalf of the company and admitted that it was criminal conduct during the interrogation of the American lawyer J. Stephen Ferketic. Of the three criminal charges against Purdue, two were for violating a federal anti-kickback law while another accused Stamford, the Connecticut-based company of fraud in the United States, and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Purdue's appeal agreement carries more than $ 5.5 billion in penalties, most of which go unpaid. A $ 3.54 billion fine will be considered alongside trillions of dollars in bad debts as part of Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings.
Purdue agreed to pay $ 225 million against a $ 2 billion forfeiture, while the Department of Justice preceded the rest if the company completes a bankruptcy reorganization that dissolves itself and transfers assets to a "public utility" or similar entity that controls it. the unpaid portion of $ 1
A verdict on these penalties is set to come along the line, when Purdue gets court approval for a bankruptcy reorganization.