Bipartisan Opioid Task Force Co-Chairs Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Annie Kuster released a statement on the United States Department of Justice announcement that Purdue Pharma, the company that makes the powerful and highly addictive prescription painkiller OxyContin, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws as part of an $8.3 billion settlement.
The lawmakers believe Purdue and the Sackler family perpetrated crimes and intentionally caused millions of unsuspecting people to become addicted to powerful painkillers for profit, worsening the opioid crisis and directly contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.
Since 2000, the opioid crisis has resulted in the deaths of more than 470,000 Americans.
“Millions of Americans have been affected by the opioid epidemic, hundreds of thousands have died, and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a spike in opioid addiction, overdoses and deaths,” the statement read. “Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family have committed egregious crimes and intentionally contributed to the opioid crisis for their own personal financial benefit, at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. Their actions were willfully shameful and criminal. This announcement is a small step towards justice, but it’s not enough. Money from this settlement should go towards recovery and prevention efforts to address the opioid epidemic that Purdue helped to create. There will be no justice until members of the Sackler family are held personally criminally liable for what they have done. Allowing companies to buy their way out of violating federal laws is not justice.”