Purdue lab pleads guilty to end opioid crisis

An $ 8.3 billion settlement has been found between the US justice system and the maker of OxyContin. This drug is one of the most implicated in the wave of overdoses that have claimed 450,000 lives in the United States since 1999.

Purdue Pharma has agreed to plead guilty to ending federal proceedings in the opioid crisis in the United States. The pharmaceutical company and the justice ministry have reached an agreement, which amounts to 8.3 billion dollars (7 billion euros), to settle the lawsuits.

The case concerned the marketing practices of the painkiller OxyContin, which "have helped fuel the opioid crisis," reports the Wall Street Journal. Purdue, along with other drug manufacturers and distributors, faced "thousands of federal and local lawsuits" in connection with an "overdose epidemic that has killed at least 450,000 people in the United States since 1999".

Symbolic

The price to pay for the laboratory of the Sackler family is “however largely symbolic” in the global regulations unveiled on Wednesday, October 21 by the Minister of Justice, underlines the economic daily, the assets of the bankrupt company being well below the 8 , $ 3 billion announced. Purdue will pay the federal government $ 225 million, with the remainder going to municipalities and states involved in the lawsuits. However, the New York Times specifies, the government "will now have to take its place in a long line of creditors."

In addition, the Sackler family agreed to pay $ 225 million in damages. This will not prevent further criminal complaints from being filed against company leaders or family members, the justice ministry said.

The opioid crisis has exposed the illegal practices of the US pharmaceutical industry. The largest laboratories had agreed to encourage the medical profession to prescribe their opioid-based painkillers, these synthetic psychotropic substances. The pharmaceutical industry had thus succeeded in convincing regulatory bodies and the political class of the benefits of opioids. This strategy has resulted in overconsumption, misuse, illegal trafficking and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Arrived on the market in the mid-1990s, OxyContin is considered one of the "fiercest instigators of the opioid epidemic", recalls the New York Times, the Perdue laboratory being "the architect of a muscular and deceptive drug marketing ”.

In the regulations, the penalties include $ 3.54 billion in criminal fines and $ 2 billion in forfeiture of profits. These are “the heaviest penalties ever imposed on a pharmaceutical manufacturer”.

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