October 23, 2020

Around the nation: Purdue Pharma pleads guilty, agrees to pay $8.3 over opioid marketing

Daily Briefing

    The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced that Purdue Pharma has agreed to plead guilty to three felony criminal charges related to its marketing of its opioid painkillers under a $8.3 billion settlement, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Connecticut and the District of Columbia.

    • Connecticut/District of Columbia: The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced that Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin and has been accused of fueling opioid epidemic, has agreed to plead guilty to three felony criminal charges related to its marketing of its painkillers under a $8.3 billion settlement. The settlement resolves criminal and civil investigations into the company's aggressive marketing of its powerful opioids, but it does not bring an end to all the litigation against the company—or prevent members of the Sackler family, who founded Purdue, and any of the company's executives from being prosecuted in the future. According to ABC News, the settlement "amount is largely symbolic" since Purdue has filed for bankruptcy and does not have the assets to pay the entire amount. DOJ said the Sackler family separately agreed to pay $225 million to resolve civil claims (DOJ release, 10/21; Silverman, STAT News, 10/21; Katersky, ABC News, 10/21; Hoffman/Benner, New York Times, 10/21).

    • District of Columbia: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday told reporters that Medicare beneficiaries will receive the $200 discount cards that the Trump administration recently announced after the presidential election on Nov. 3. "We're making the final approval of those within the next 24 to 48 hours," Meadows said. According Meadows, the card will arrive later in November or December (Brewster, Forbes, 10/21).

    • District of Columbia: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a letter sent to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) last week announced that it will investigate whether the Trump administration inappropriately interfered with CDC's and FDA's response to the country's coronavirus epidemic. Senate Democrats requested the probe following media reports that HHS political appointees had sought to steer the policies, communications, and reports released by the agencies. GAO in the letter wrote that it will "review whether the CDC and FDA's scientific integrity and communications policies have been violated and whether those policies are being implemented as intended to assure scientific integrity" (Diamond, Politico, 10/19).

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