WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) yesterday sent letters to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), requesting information about potential conflicts of interest caused by Rudy Giuliani’s work representing Purdue Pharma while it was under criminal investigation for the fraudulent marketing of OxyContin, a powerful prescription opioid. The letters seek to determine whether Giuliani’s simultaneous work on behalf of both the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration while he was representing Purdue Pharma may have led to unduly lenient treatment for Purdue Pharma.
“The United States continues to combat the worst drug overdose epidemic in our history,” the Senators wrote. “An estimated 2.6 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder and more than 42,000 people died from opioid-involved overdoses in 2016 alone, with early estimates for 2017 showing another dramatic increase. A contributor to the origins of this epidemic was the deceptive and fraudulent marketing of OxyContin by Purdue Pharma, which intentionally misled the public for over a decade about the drug’s potential for abuse and addictive impacts.”
In the letters, the Senators cite reports that while representing Purdue Pharma in negotiations with DOJ regarding these fraudulent marketing schemes, Giuliani’s firm was part of a $1 million consulting contract with DOJ to provide advice on reorganizing its major drug investigations. At the same time, Giuliani was also personally raising money for a DEA museum.
“These facts suggest [DOJ and] DEA officials may have agreed to an inappropriately lenient treatment of Purdue Pharma simply because it was represented by Mr. Giuliani,” the Senators added. “The public health consequences of that decision may have been immense, and deserve greater scrutiny by Congress, [DOJ], and DEA.
The Senators lay out a list of questions for DEA and DOJ to respond to by September 21, 2018 regarding this potentially shady dealing.
See the text of the Senators’ letters to the DOJ here and the letter to the DEA here.