NEWWARK, N.J. – OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has pleaded guilty to three criminal charges and formally admitted its role in the opioid crisis.
Tuesday's plea before a judge in Newark, New Jersey, is part of a larger settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice that also includes resolving civil claims.
The Stamford, Connecticut-based company is to pay $225 million as part of the deal, while $8 billion in forfeitures and penalties could be waived because of a proposed deal to resolve thousands of other lawsuits.
Advocates are upset that the guilty plea applies only to the company and not executives or members of the Sackler family who own it.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Purdue Pharma admitted to impeding the US. Drug Enforcement’s efforts to combat the addiction crisis and acknowledged it paid doctors to induce them to write more prescriptions for its painkillers.
More than 750,000 people have died from drug overdoses since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC says two out of three overdose deaths in 2018 involved opioid, which are substances that work in the nervous system of the body or in specific receptors in the brain to reduce the intensity of pain.
Since 1999, the CDC says overdose deaths involving opioid like prescription drugs and heroin have increased six times.