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Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three criminal charges, AP reports.

Why it matters: The plea signals the company's admission it played a role in the opioid epidemic that has contributed to nearly half a million deaths over the past two decades.

In a virtual hearing on Tuesday, the Stamford, Connecticut company admitted:

  • It impeded the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s efforts to combat the addiction crisis.
  • It had not maintained an effective program in preventing any black market sales. Purdue also gave misleading information to the DEA in order to boost manufacturing quotas.
  • It also admitted paying doctors through a speakers program as an incentive to prescribe painkillers.

The big picture: The plea is one part of a slew of legal and financial troubles for the opioid manufacturer.

  • Purdue earlier agreed to pay $225 million out of the $8.3 billion in penalties and forfeitures owed to the federal government.
  • Members of the wealthy Sackler family who own the company have also agreed to pay $225 million to the federal government to settle civil claims.

Yes, but: Advocates and several attorneys general say the plea does little for the lives lost and the ongoing opioid crisis, which has worsened throughout the coronavirus pandemic, early data shows.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Ransomware attack forces shutdown of major U.S. fuel pipeline

A police officer stands guard inside the gate to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Alabama, in 2016. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A major U.S. fuel pipeline running from Texas to New York has been taken offline by its operator because of a ransomware attack, Colonial Pipeline said Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant breach of critical infrastructure and comes on the heels of multiple other major cyberattacks on both U.S. companies and the federal government.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The wealthy exodus from superstar cities

Pandemic-induced remote work is chipping away at a recent trend of Americans staying put — but only for the well-off.

Why it matters: Telework has been lauded as a geographic equalizer, allowing talented people from all over the country to go for jobs in superstar coastal metros. But the benefits have largely been limited to wealthier workers — so far.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: The end of quarantine — CDC updates guidance on airborne COVID-19.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations.
  5. World: Asia faces massive new COVID surge.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.