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Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

DeSaulnier and Cummings Call on AG Sessions to Produce DOJ Report Showing Purdue Pharma Concealed Knowledge of OxyContin Abuses

June 12, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Ranking Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07) called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to produce a copy of a 2006 Department of Justice (DOJ) report concluding that Purdue Pharma, the company often linked with the genesis of the opioid epidemic, knew of significant abuses of its drug OxyContin shortly after it was brought to market in 1996.

“If this report is accurate, Purdue’s actions demonstrate a stunning disregard for human life and the law.  While Purdue Pharma made billions of dollars from OxyContin, thousands of Americans succumbed to addiction and its consequences,” the Members wrote.

The 120-page report, obtained by the New York Times, indicates that federal investigators found that Purdue Pharma continued to market OxyContin as less addictive despite knowledge that the highly addictive nature of the drug had led to largescale abuses.  At the time, federal prosecutors recommended that three top executives be indicted on felony charges, but the Bush Administration settled the case instead.

Purdue Pharma has long maintained that it did not learn of the widespread abuse of OxyContin until early 2000, but the DOJ report shows that Purdue Pharma knew of abuses years earlier but concealed that information.

“The United States is facing the greatest health crisis in decades.  Millions of Americans are in the grip of drug addiction due in part to the aggressive over-prescribing of opioids like OxyContin for even minor injuries.  For years, Purdue Pharma has vehemently denied that it had any knowledge of the growing illicit use of OxyContin until years after it had been on the market,” the Members wrote.

A full copy of the letter can be found here.
 

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