U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said the money paid by Perdue Pharma to settle cases against it by the federal government should go to communities most affected by the opioid crisis.
In a statement released after Perdue agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of defrauding the government and conspiring to violate federal anti-kickback legislation, as well as to pay $8 billion in fines and penalties for the company’s role in the opioid epidemic, Manchin advocated forcing the company to pay the settlement instead of its executives.
“The opioid epidemic has ravaged West Virginia and much of America, claiming innocent lives and hurting our friends, family, and neighbors. Purdue Pharma produced and sold opioids, knowing they were highly addictive and harmful without caring about the consequences. They lied to the American people for a profit. There is no amount of money that can bring back the West Virginians whose lives were lost because of Purdue Pharma,” Manchin said. “However, we can ensure that the settlement is used to address the opioid epidemic in West Virginia and other states hit hard by this crisis. Purdue should be required to pay their settlements in full, and there should not be one dollar going to bonuses for their executives. These settlements will never heal the hearts of those who lost loved ones, but we can do everything possible to help those impacted by this terrible epidemic.”
Last month, Manchin and five other Senators urged Judge Robert D. Drain to reject Purdue’s proposal to provide its President and CEO Craig Landau with a bonus of up to $3.5 million, a notion opposed by Attorneys General from 24 states across the country as well.
According to Purdue’s own filings, the senators argued that Landau’s incentive package was similar to the plan Perdue implemented during its illegal and deceptive marketing campaign. That opioid campaign is thought to be part of the spark that exploded the opioid epidemic and has, thus far, taken nearly 400,000 lives while making nearly $35 billion in revenue for Purdue.