By AARON KATERSKY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Purdue Pharma is expected Tuesday to plead guilty to federal conspiracy and kickback charges and acknowledge that its aggressive marketing of opioids over the last three decades helped propel an addiction crisis that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The guilty plea is part of a settlement with the Justice Department. The deal has been criticized as too lenient on members of the Sackler family, who owned the company and made an estimated $10 billion from OxyContin. They will not admit to wrongdoing and face zero charges as part of the settlement.
Purdue Pharma said it knowingly and willfully offered payments to health care providers to induce them to write more prescriptions of its opioid products.
It also admitted to aiding and abetting the dispensing of opioids without a legitimate medical purpose or valid prescription and failing to provide the Drug Enforcement Administration with accurate information about OxyContin.
Until it stopped marketing opioids in February 2018, prosecutors said Purdue sought to increase sales by sending sales representatives to prescribers’ offices and pharmacies to deliver company-developed messaging, give the prescribers meals and marketing materials and provide information about pharmacies stocking Purdue opioids.
The settlement agreement quoted an executive who said in a September 2010 presentation to Purdue’s sales supervisors: “As I have stated several times, we know increases in the prescriber call average will have the single largest impact of anything you can do to increase prescriptions of Purdue products with our core and super core prescribers.”
During an all-day hearing in a White Plains, New York, bankruptcy court last week on Tuesday, a judge authorized the settlement between Purdue and the DOJ.
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