WARWICK, R.I. – After obtaining a copy of a confidential Justice Department report, The New York Times reported today that opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma knew about the addictive quality and abuse of its opioid product OxyContin as far back as 1996.
“They knew. 200,000 U.S. deaths later, we are just learning more of the truth behind the opioid epidemic, which was fueled by a Big Tobacco-style cover-up,” said Bob Flanders, candidate for U.S. Senate. “We need to hold every complicit individual, organization, and corporation accountable. This stops now.”
Purdue Pharma general counsel, Howard R. Udell, and other company executives have testified before Congress and elsewhere that the company was unaware of the drug’s abuse. To this day, Purdue Pharma maintains its position of ignorance, in the face of medical science and the Times’ reporting.
Per the New York Times: Based on their findings after a four-year investigation, the prosecutors recommended that three top Purdue Pharma executives be indicted on felony charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, that could have sent the men to prison if convicted… Instead, the government settled the case in 2007.
The New York Times again: In 2007, Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to a felony charge of “misbranding” OxyContin while marketing the drug by misrepresenting, among other things, its risk of addiction and potential to be abused. Three executives — the company’s chief executive, Michael Friedman; its top medical officer, Dr. Paul D. Goldenheim; and Mr. Udell, who died in 2013 — each pled guilty to a misdemeanor “misbranding” charge that solely held them liable as Purdue Pharma’s “responsible” executives and did not accuse them of wrongdoing. The company and the executives paid a combined $634.5 million in fines and the men were required to perform community service.
“As Rhode Island’s U.S. Senator, I will be pressing for indictments against Purdue Pharma executives who misrepresented the addictive dangers of these opioids and bring the full force of the law down on these wrongdoers,” said Flanders. “The destruction this company has wrought is beyond the slap-on-the-wrist charge of ‘misbranding.’ This company apparently engaged in deliberate deceptive activity, ruined lives, destroyed families, and tore the fabric of our society. It is time they are held accountable for their actions; the opioid epidemic is not a faceless crime.”
You can read the New York Times article HERE.FacebookTwitterGoogle +