Purdue Pharma unlikely to pay for opioid crisis: Judge Nap

Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, will probably never accept responsibility for America’s opioid abuse and pay a penalty, according to Judge Napolitano.“The FDA approved this,” he told Charles Payne during a FOX Business interview on Tuesday. “And the basic rule of thumb is when the FDA approves a drug, there’s no liability for its ordinary and reasonable use.” Purdue Pharma knew about the opioid painkiller’s powerful, addictive effect in its first years on the market despite claiming otherwise, according to a Justice Department report first obtained by The New York Times.

Shortly after the drug’s 1996 release, according to the report, company executives knew the drug was being crushed and snorted; stolen from pharmacies; and sold by some doctors illegally.

Napolitano, senior judicial analyst at Fox News, said Purdue is likely insulated from responsibility because access to OxyContin required a learned intermediary, meaning users couldn’t go to a drug store and buy it without a prescription from a doctor.

Because doctors are only supposed to dole out prescriptions “under very narrow circumstances,” Pharma is likely absolved of guilt in this situation, Napolitano said.

“I don’t know that anybody is going to pay a very serious price here for a radical health epidemic, arguably fomented by aggressive sales personnel,” Napolitano said.

The DOJ report recommended three top Purdue executives be indicted on felony charges, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S.