The Guardian is reporting that the president’s newest lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, helped Purdue Pharma executives, which produces Oxycontin, to avoid jail-time in the mid-to-early 2000s.
The company was involved in an investigation into its deceptive marketing practices brought on by the U.S. attorney for the Western District for Virginia.
Giuliani reportedly helped Purdue to secure a deal that limited future prosecution of the company, exempted its executives from jail-time, and allowed Purdue to continue conducting business with the federal government, which, naturally, allowed them to continue to rake in profits in the billions.
Oxycontin is one of the main culprits at the center of a national opiate epidemic that has killed at least 300,000 people over the last thirty years.
John Brownlee, the Virginia Western District’s attorney at the time, defended the deal while simultaneously expressing surprise at the fact that the company did not receive harsher consequences.
These days, the Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company is facing a slew of civil lawsuits from New York, Texas, and five other states.
Brownlee, it should be noted, is the only prosecutor to have ever secured a criminal conviction against the company.
Purdue aggressively marketed Oxycontin to doctors and medical professionals, claiming that its 12-hour release period into the bloodstream would reduce the likelihood of addiction and abuse.
However, the drug contained a significantly higher dose of narcotics than any other painkiller on the market at the time, and almost instantly became a go-to drug for users looking to get a quick and powerful high.
“This was the magic pill, right? This was a long-acting pill that the addicts wouldn’t like and you couldn’t get dependent on, and that is the magic bullet. The reality is it just wasn’t true. It was highly deceptive and then they trained their sales force to go out and to push that deception on physicians.” — Brownlee
Once Purdue discovered that they were under investigation, they brought Giuliani on board to confront Brownlee.
According to Brownlee, Giuliani attempted to argue that the entire situation was not what it seemed.
However, when Brownlee’s team discovered Purdue training videos that depict sales reps acting out the selling of the drug using false claims, Brownlee became even more convinced that the company was committing criminal offenses by disseminating false information.
“What were the doctors being told? That was the real rub. To me the biggest evidence were the videos of the training sessions. When I saw that, you now know that this is what the corporation wants the doctors to know, and it just wasn’t true.” — Brownlee
Now, more than a decade later, tens of thousands of more people have died as a result of opiate addiction, and nothing has been done to curb or regulate those who produce the drugs, and the man who defended them is legal defense to the president of the United States.