In late October, the Justice Department announced that Purdue Pharma will plead guilty to multiple felony charges related to the marketing and sale of OxyContin. Purdue agreed to plead guilty as part of a larger settlement with U.S. prosecutors. In addition to the criminal charges, Purdue will also face around $8.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties. The settlement agreement may help groups, individuals, and organizations receive compensation from the pharmaceutical company.
Details of the Purdue Settlement
Of the $8.3 billion that Purdue owes, over $3.5 billion will be imposed as criminal fines and $2.8 billion will go toward paying civil penalties. This includes fines for using controversial marketing strategies to influence healthcare providers to prescribe OxyContin in unnecessary situations. An additional $2 billion will be confiscated by the government in criminal forfeiture.
Although Purdue reached a settlement with the Justice Department, the pharmaceutical company still faces thousands of lawsuits on local, state, and tribal levels. Purdue officials have previously stated that the resolution of federal charges would allow the company to work toward reaching settlements with other groups and individuals.
Background on Purdue and OxyContin
Purdue Pharma began selling OxyContin in 1996 to treat severe pain and other conditions. Many health experts have identified OxyContin and other prescription opioids as highly addictive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 25 percent of patients receiving long-term opioid therapy may struggle with addiction.
The CDC estimates that over 400,000 individuals have died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2018. Many of these deaths have been attributed to the over-prescription of opioids. In 2017, over 191 million opioid prescriptions were given to people across the country. A CDC report identified that nearly 12 million Americans reported misusing prescription opioids in 2016 alone.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Lawyer Today
Opioid misuse and addiction can have a detrimental impact on a person and their family. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to prescribed OxyContin, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced product liability lawyer from O’Connor, Acciani & Levy could examine your case and help you hold pharmaceutical companies accountable. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.