Public Citizen Statement on Purdue Pharma’s Guilty Plea

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Purdue Pharma, the maker of the powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion, according to justice department officials. Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen, released the following statement in response:

“Purdue Pharma is a bankrupt company that will operate in the future as a social benefit corporation, or possibly not at all. Criminal charges for its wrongdoing are decades late and almost beside the point.

“For there to be accountability for the corporate-fueled opioid addiction epidemic, which has cruelly taken hundreds of thousands of lives, there must be prosecution of those members of the Sackler family who, along with other executives and owners, were responsible for Purdue Pharma’s deadly deception, as well as a stripping away of their ill-gotten gains from an evil scheme to push addictive drugs for profit.

“The DOJ should have prosecuted Purdue and its owners and executives back in 2007, the first time it brought charges against the company, instead of immunizing it with a non-prosecution agreement, as Public Citizen stated at the time. Public Citizen research shows these leniency agreements do not deter corporate recidivism. Today’s guilty plea comes too late for the millions of lives that Purdue’s crimes destroyed over the past decade.”