Oxycontin

Giuliani helps defend a drug maker under scrutiny

DEA Museum ribbon cutting ceremony
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, second from left, takes part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the DEA Museum. DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson is on Giuliani's right. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft is on Giuliani's left. U.S. drug czar John Walters is on Aschcroft's left.

Connecticut drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma hired Giuliani Partners in May 2002 as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration began investigating a wave of overdose deaths attributed to the firm's powerful and lucrative painkiller, OxyContin. The agencies had started looking into the pain product's illicit use as a recreational drug, and probing lax security at the company's manufacturing plants in New Jersey and North Carolina. A week before the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the former mayor joined then-DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft for the opening of new exhibit at the DEA's traveling museum and lent his star power to luncheon that day that raised about $20,000 for the DEA Foundation. In June 2004 U.S. prosecutors announced that the Purdue Pharma affiliate that ran the Totowa, New Jersey plant would pay $2 million to settle the investigation and the drugmaker would not have to admit wrongdoing or take its product off the shelf.

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