OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
The plea is part of an $8 billion settlement concerning the pharmaceutical company's role in the rise of the opioid epidemic.
The company is expected to plead guilty to one count of dual-object conspiracy for defrauding the U.S. and violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and to two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback statute. The settlement includes more than $3.5 billion in criminal fines, $2 billion in criminal forfeiture, and a civil settlement of $2.8 billion.
Purdue will admit it falsely represented an effective drug diversion program and reported misleading information to the FDA, officials said. It will also admit to violating anti-kickback laws that encouraged doctors to prescribe the opioid at a higher rate.
"The agreed resolution, if approved by the courts, will require that the company be dissolved and no longer exist in its present form," Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said at a news conference.
The deal also does not release company executives or the Sackler family, its owners, from criminal liability, although the family maintains that it acted lawfully.
"Members of the Sackler family who served on Purdue's board of directors acted ethically and lawfully, and the upcoming release of company documents will prove that fact in detail," a spokesperson for the family said in a statement. "This history of Purdue will also demonstrate that all financial distributions were proper."
Experts say that the powerful painkiller OxyContin helped to create the opioid epidemic in the U.S.