"With its OxyContin, Purdue unleashed a highly abusable, addictive, and potentially dangerous drug on an unsuspecting and unknowing public," [U.S. Attorney John] Brownlee said. "For these misrepresentations and crimes, Purdue and its executives have been brought to justice."
"[C]ompany chief executive officer Michael Friedman, general counsel Howard Udell and former chief medical officer Paul Goldenheim each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of misbranding the drug. Of the total fine [of $634.5 million], $34.5 million was levied on those three."
To me, the punishment does not come close to fitting the crime. The fines are paltry compared to the amount of money that the company, and no doubt the executives, made by falsely promoting an addictive drug. No one is doing any jail time.
I saw U.S. Attorney Brownlee on the PBS Newshour Friday and he kept emphasizing how the company had been brought to justice and that executives had to walk into court and admit to being guilty. But a company does not act on its own--human beings do. And the three executives who walked into court to admit guilt then walked right back out and into their old jobs.
And it is not remotely plausible to me that these three were the only ones involved in this level of illegal activity.
This strikes me as a very incomplete form of justice.