Purdue Pharma reaches $8.34 billion settlement over opioid probes

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that Purdue Pharma has agreed to plead guilty to three felonies related to its marketing and distribution of oxycodone (OxyContin) as part of an $8.34 billion settlement.

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that Purdue Pharma has agreed to plead guilty to three felonies related to its marketing and distribution of oxycodone (OxyContin) as part of an $8.34 billion settlement. Purdue's owners, members of the Sackler family, also resolved civil charges for $225 million, although prosecutors indicated criminal investigations into the family have not ended. Purdue and other major opioid makers have been the targets of thousands of lawsuits filed by state and local governments as the opioid crisis has taken the lives of at least 450,000 Americans since 1999. In a statement, the chair of Purdue's board, Steve Miller, said the company regrets and accepts responsibility for the misconduct cited by the prosecutors, noting the company has "made significant changes to our leadership, operations, governance, and oversight." The Sacklers asserted they had strict policies to keep the company in compliance with the law and that all financial distributions to the family were correct. In court filings Wednesday, however, the government alleged the family illegally transferred funds out of Purdue to conceal it from future creditors. Purdue filed for bankruptcy more than a year ago as it negotiates a settlement of opioid-related lawsuits. Because its assets fall short of $8 billion, it will pay the federal government $225 million, and much of the remaining fines will be waived to allow more money to go to states, counties, and tribes that say the company helped spark widespread opioid addiction and deaths.