The manufacturer of the heavy, addictive pain reliever OxyContin has reached a settlement with the United States Department of Justice. Purdue Pharma will plead guilty to three charges in a deal that will cost the drug giant more than $ 8 billion.
Opioids are a big problem in the US. Doctors readily prescribe the strong and addictive drugs. One explanation for this is that the American pharmaceutical industry is bound by fewer rules than those in other countries. Since 2000, 470,000 Americans have died of opioid addiction, according to AP news agency.
Other drug manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson are also being tackled by US states or the federal government for their role in the opiate crisis in the country.
OxyContin contains the opioid oxycodone; a stronger, synthetic variant of morphine. The drug suppresses pain stimuli in the brain. The tablets or capsules are available on prescription in the Netherlands under the names OxyContin, Oxynorm and Oxycodon. The then minister Bruins warned last year that the use of oxycodone in the Netherlands has risen sharply.
The deal, the details of which will not be announced until later, according to experts, will not affect the ongoing investigations into the wealthy owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family. They are no longer on the board of the company. It is clear that the company admits that it has violated federal laws.
President Trump announced a tough approach to the opiate crisis in his country a few years ago. He is expected to use this deal in his reelection campaign. His political opponents, the Democrats, believe that the Justice Department has treated the drug giant too gently.
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