The opioid crisis has claimed at least 300,000 lives, with over 60,000 people dying of drug overdose across the country in 2016 alone.
As it turns out, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is currently working with President Donald Trump’s legal team in order to end special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian collusion, once played a huge part in securing a plea deal for the makers of opioid OxyContin – an addictive prescription painkiller, according to The Guardian.
In the 1990s, Purdue Pharma aggressively marketed its opioid, claiming it was safer and less prone to misuse than other similar drugs. In the mid-2000s, the U.S. government secured a criminal conviction against the pharmaceutical company for deliberately misrepresenting OxyContin’s addictiveness.
However, none of the senior executives at Purdue went to jail – all thanks to Giuliani, whose consulting firm “Giuliani Partners” managed to win a plea deal that not only restricted the drug maker from facing further prosecution or criminal investigation but also evaded a possible ban on the company doing business with the federal government.
According to a 2007 The New York Times investigation, Purdue hired Giuliani’s firm to convince “public officials that they could trust Purdue because they could trust him.” The former New York mayor, who founded “Giuliani Partners” right after the end of his tenure, participated in at least two meetings between the pharmaceutical company and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which was investigating the opioid maker.
“As a celebrity, Mr. Giuliani helped the company win several public relations battles, playing a role in an effort by Purdue to persuade an influential Pennsylvania congressman, Curt Weldon, not to blame it for OxyContin abuse,” the publication wrote at the time. “Giuliani Partners would not say how much Purdue had paid it, but one consultant to the drug maker estimated that Mr. Giuliani’s firm had, in some years, earned several million dollars from the account.”
Although Purdue Pharma claimed it had not consulted with Giuliani’s firm since 2008, it is important to note OxyContin continues to claim American lives every day – and Giuliani seemed to have played a part in exacerbating the crisis.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Joshua Roberts