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More than three dozen Democratic lawmakers asked the Department of Justice to consider filing criminal charges against Purdue Pharma executives and members of the wealthy Sackler family, which controls the drug maker, for their role in fomenting the opioid crisis.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the lawmakers objected that federal authorities are reportedly nearing a plea agreement that would not require anyone from the company or the family to serve a “single day in prison,” despite having run a “criminal scheme” that caused “millions of unsuspecting people” to become addicted to the OxyContin painkiller.


A settlement could involve more than $8 billion in criminal fines, criminal forfeiture, and civil penalties. A deal might also involve transforming Purdue Pharma into a public benefit company that would be run on behalf of the numerous communities that have been pursuing Purdue for compensation, although some state attorneys general are opposed to the idea.

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