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Purdue Pharma reportedly in talks with DOJ to settle criminal, civil opioid probes

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, is in talks with the Justice Department to resolve criminal and civil probes related to its alleged role in fueling the opioid crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The government has subpoenaed former employees as part of federal investigations that began at least as early as 2017, the Journal reported. The investigations have examined the company’s possible failure to report doctors who were illegally prescribing opioids and the company’s order-monitoring systems, according to the Journal.

The government has also considered charges under “continuing criminal enterprise” statutes that are typically used to prosecute drug dealers, the Journal reported. A deal with the Justice Department would likely include a monetary fine, though it’s unclear how large it would be, the Journal reported.

Purdue paid $634.5 million in 2007 to resolve criminal and civil charges for claiming OxyContin was less addictive and less subject to abuse than other pain medicines.

Purdue is currently trying to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits against the company for $10 billion to $12 billion. A trial for the consolidated cases is slated to start in October.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.