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Dozens of members of Congress are urging the U.S. Department of Justice to revise a recent $8.3 billion settlement of civil and criminal charges with Purdue Pharma, arguing that one part of the deal is really a “mirage” designed to help lessen the financial burden for the Sackler family, which controls the company.

In a sharply worded letter, the lawmakers objected to the idea of transforming the drug maker into a public benefit company. The entity would be run on behalf of the numerous state, county, and city governments around the U.S. that are seeking compensation from Purdue over allegations the company contributed to the opioid crisis by fueling overprescribing and downplaying the risks of addiction of the OxyContin painkiller.


The notion of creating a public benefit company was floated in order to resolve escalating legal troubles facing some members of the Sackler family, who placed the drug maker in bankruptcy in response to the lawsuits and federal probe. The lawmakers, however, contend the concept is actually a ruse that will create the perception of a conflict of interest for local governments.

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