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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 08 2020, @07:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the being-held-accountable dept.

OxyContin maker said to be brokering plea deal in criminal probe:

Purdue Pharma LP, the OxyContin maker controlled by members of the wealthy Sackler family, is nearing an agreement to plead guilty to criminal charges as part of a broader deal to resolve United States Justice Department probes into its alleged role in fuelling the nation's opioid crisis, six people familiar with the matter said.

Purdue lawyers and federal prosecutors are brokering a plea deal that could be unveiled as quickly as within the next two weeks and include billions of dollars of financial penalties, four of the people said. They stressed that talks are fluid and that some of the terms could change as discussions continue.

In addition to the criminal case, US prosecutors are negotiating a settlement of civil claims also carrying a financial penalty that allege unlawful conduct in Purdue's handling of prescription painkillers, they said.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company is expected to face penalties exceeding $8bn. They consist of a roughly $3.54bn criminal fine, $2bn criminal forfeiture and $2.8bn civil penalty, some of the people familiar with the negotiations said.

They are unlikely to be paid in the near term as the criminal fine and civil penalty are expected to be considered alongside other claims in Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings and the company lacks the necessary funds to fully repay all creditors.

The tentative agreement would draw a line under Purdue's criminal exposure for what prosecutors and state attorneys general have described as aggressive marketing of a highly-addictive painkiller that minimised the drug's potential for abuse and overdosing.

[...] The outcome of settlement talks among Purdue, its owners and litigants will help determine how much money US communities receive to address the toll from opioids.

In earlier filings made as part of Purdue's bankruptcy case, federal prosecutors alleged the company at times paid doctors and pharmacies illegal kickbacks between 2010 and 2018 to encourage medically unnecessary opioid prescriptions, resulting in fraudulent claims to government healthcare programmes such as Medicare.

Purdue has offered to settle widespread litigation in a deal it values at more than $10bn, much of it linked to drugs under development to treat addiction and combat overdoses. One contentious aspect of the proposal is that some of the funds would come from continued OxyContin sales.


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OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma to Plead Guilty to Three Criminal Charges 67 comments

OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma to Plead Guilty to Three Criminal Charges

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to plead guilty to 3 criminal charges as part of an $8 billion-plus settlement

WASHINGTON (AP) — Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, the powerful prescription painkiller that experts say helped touch off an epidemic, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion, Justice Department officials told The Associated Press.

The company will plead guilty to a criminal information being filed Wednesday in federal court in New Jersey to three counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws, the officials said.

The deal does not release any of the company's executives or owners — members of the wealthy Sackler family — from criminal liability. A criminal investigation is ongoing.

The officials were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Also at: Business Insider, CBS News, and ABC News.

Guilty pleas? You seldom see that - these corporates always seem to get away with weasel word statements to the effect, "We acknowledge no wrongdoing blah blah blah . . . "

Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty to Opioid Crisis Charges, Will Become a Public Benefit Corporation

OxyContin maker to plead guilty to federal criminal charges, pay $8 billion, and will close the company

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for its role in creating the nation's opioid crisis and will pay more than $8 billion and close down the company.

The money will go to opioid treatment and abatement programs. The privately held company has agreed to pay a $3.5 billion fine as well as forfeit an additional $2 billion in past profits, in addition to the $2.8 billion it agreed to pay in civil liability.
"Purdue Pharma actively thwarted the United States' efforts to ensure compliance and prevent diversion," said Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Administrator Tim McDermott. "The devastating ripple effect of Purdue's actions left lives lost and others addicted."

The company doesn't have $8 billion in cash available to pay the fines. So Purdue will be dissolved as part of the settlement, and its assets will be used to create a new "public benefit company" controlled by a trust or similar entity designed for the benefit of the American public. The Justice Department said it will function entirely in the public interest rather than to maximize profits. Its future earnings will go to paying the fines and penalties, which in turn will be used to combat the opioid crisis.

That new company will continue to produce painkillers such as OxyContin, as well as drugs to deal with opioid overdose. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who announced the settlement, defended the plans for the new company to continue to sell that drug, saying there are legitimate uses for painkillers such as OxyContin.

Also at The New York Times, Bloomberg, NBC, and CBS.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by PinkyGigglebrain on Thursday October 08 2020, @08:57AM (2 children)

    by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Thursday October 08 2020, @08:57AM (#1062023)

    The CEOs and other executive that are responsible for the deaths of thousands and ruined the lives of far more.

    And all they will get is a fine that they probably wont have to pay anyway?

    Some of those people need to be put in jail at least, or preferably in front of a firing squad filled with the people who have lost friends and loved ones to narcotics these fuckers make.

    --
    "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Thursday October 08 2020, @07:58PM

      by captain normal (2205) on Thursday October 08 2020, @07:58PM (#1062207)

      LLCs should be outlawed. The legal wrangling by large corporations that make them "people" but shields the officers of such from any liability or criminal prosecution is a big part of the problems we have in society today. They are no different than organized gangs that sell heroin and cocaine on the street and the leaders of such corporations should face the same jail terms as a poor black man would get for dealing on the street.

      --
      Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts"- --Daniel Patrick Moynihan--
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09 2020, @03:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09 2020, @03:06PM (#1062506)

      TBH, I'm not a support of the death penalty, but this is a case where they need to be executed. The number of people that they killed with theri recklessness and irresponsibiltiy really demands that they be executed. Even a long jail sentence is unlikely to prevent other executives from engaging in the same sort of behavior.

      In practice, they'll likely get off with some sort of monetary fine and community service. If they do see jail at all, it will be a short sentence in a minimum security prison where the few white collar criminals that are sent to prison go.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2020, @09:57AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2020, @09:57AM (#1062030)

    This is a disgrace to the profession of medicine. Here we see an example of a large number of physicians (medical doctors) who have all selfishly participated in very profitable, corrupt prescribing of addictive opioid drugs with several detrimental effects on individuals and society, resulting in harm and even deaths of their patients. None of those physicians has been publically identified, shamed into public apology, or professionally sanctioned. The Hippocratic Oath has no meaning for them.

    Yet, survey after survey repeatedly confirms that physicians (medical doctors) enjoy one of the highest of all professional reputations in the eyes of the general public.

    In many countries, physicians have created legal structures to protect themselves, for example, by having professional bodies that are recognized in law as having the power to judge their own members whose professional standards and ethics have been subject to complaints or criticism. These professional bodies, however, very rarely sanction physicians and even more rarely disqualify them from practising medicine. For example, there have been recent cases in the UK of surgeons with over 200 complaints, both from patients and even from their professional colleagues, of grossly substandard, disfiguring, or even lethal surgery who were allowed to practise for over a 10 years before being sanctioned, but none was disqualified from medicine.

    This situation seems unlikely to change for the better until all physicians are replaced in the far future by AI and robots, which will certainly eventually happen, for cost reasons alone.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday October 08 2020, @02:18PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 08 2020, @02:18PM (#1062087) Journal

      There is another side effect to this unethical behavior.

      People who actually need narcotic pain killers now find it more difficult to get them. Some physicians are less likely to prescribe them unless they really know that you are not drug seeking and your condition is real. That's okay for someone who's condition makes it physically obvious that they live with pain. Pity the patients where their pain is not obvious. Hopefully they have enough other measurable conditions to warrant a diagnosis that supports their claims of pain.

      When there is a long term condition, it is good to have a long term relationship with at least a primary care doctor and a specialist for your condition. Both of which who would be willing to prescribe your pain medications -- but only ONE of which should be doing so.

      --
      With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2020, @05:18PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2020, @05:18PM (#1062152)

      The physicians were systematically deceived by the Sackler minions. They were lied to by experts who closely studied, and thus got VERY good at, deceiving physicians. Said experts were provided staff and budgets to make it happen.

      How long do you think anyone could resist if a team of trained experts with a budget tried to suggest something to them?

      Take your lies elsewhere, hopefully to die in a fire. Take your bullshit AI with you too. Finding statistical correlations is no substitute for training, skill, casuistry, and understanding.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2020, @06:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2020, @06:35PM (#1062184)

        Why would deception be required? The drug is clearly labeled OxyContin with all its active components listed. The physicians understand very well, without needing to be deceived, everything one needs to know about opiate-containing medication such as OxyContin.

        I'm not talking about what you seem to think "AI" means. I'm talking about what "AI" means to intelligent people who understand the long-term goal of AI is to build human-equivalent artificial intelligence with human-equivalent emotional intelligence sufficient to pass the Turing Test.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Barenflimski on Thursday October 08 2020, @02:32PM

    by Barenflimski (6836) on Thursday October 08 2020, @02:32PM (#1062091)

    The entirety of this is so disgusting and hypocritical in so many ways.

    The fines. This money will go to lawyers. It will go to cities and county coffers. Where are the loads of treatment centers? The streets should be lined with them in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and elsewhere.

    The marketing. Because the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is so large the outrage over false marketing is huge. We are lied to daily. We are bombarded with advertisements in every corner of our waking lives. This is the only marketing the "professional class" is worried about?

    Bankrupting these companies. Because we need less competition in the marketplace? I'm no fan of the pharmaceutical industry but what else are they supposed to do? How does this help the average Joe who is looking for cheaper drug prices?

    Here in the United States, we created a system where aggressive marketing is the gold standard. We created a system where profits rule. We created a system where each person is supposed to look out for themselves. We are constantly told that you're an idiot if you fall for others scams and that it's your responsibility as a person to see through all of the bullshit. Yet when these companies do exactly what that system was designed to do we take them to task? Seems to me the system is what needs to be fixed. The incentives are completely backwards. The remedies are almost useless. How do any of these lawsuits help fix any of that?

    Until I actually see people trying to use this money to help the actual people harmed (not their municipalities) I will not believe that this is anything but another power play by politicians and lawyers who don't work for the pharmaceutical companies. Until I see the system in this country changed so that no company is allowed to prey on people through marketing, it will all seem like different levels of scumminess to me. Until I see investment in the communities that turned to drugs because they had no investment or opportunities, I will only see this as morally sanctimonious people wagging their fingers at others.

    This is nothing but a money grab by powerful people on the backs of the average Joe. To me it just sounds like another day in the life of an American.

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