Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal charges over opioid sales

Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen(C) announces that Purdue Pharma LP has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription opioid OxyContin during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington,DC on October 21, 2020. YURI GRIPAS / POOL / AFP


WASHINGTON (AFP) — US drugmaker Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to three criminal charges over its production and sales of the prescription opioid Oxycontin, which stoked a nationwide addiction crisis, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Purdue also agreed to $8.3 billion in fines, damages and forfeitures to settle the criminal case against it, the department said.

In a separate agreement, the Sackler family which built Purdue to a pharmaceutical giant on the back of lucrative sales of Oxycontin, agreed to pay $225 million to resolve civil liability charges filed by the Justice Department.

Purdue pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and two counts of violating kickback laws over its marketing and sales of Oxycontin, which involved encouraging distributors and doctors to aggressively push the highly addictive drug to consumers.

“Purdue, through greed and violation of the law, prioritized money over the health and well-being of patients,” said FBI assistant director Steven D’Antuono.