OxyContin: The Giuliani Connection

By Brian Ross Richard Esposito R Schwartz

May 10, 2007 1:28pm

Rudolph Giuliani and his consulting company, Giuliani Partners, have served as key advisors for the last five years to the pharmaceutical company that pled guilty today to charges it misled doctors and patients about the addiction risks of the powerful narcotic painkiller OxyContin. Federal officials say the company, Purdue Frederick, helped to trigger a nationwide epidemic of addiction to the time-release painkiller by failing to give early warnings that it could be abused. Prosecutors say "in the process scores died." Drug Enforcement Administration officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com Giuliani personally met with the head of the DEA when the DEA’s drug diversion office began a criminal investigation into the company. According to the book "Painkiller," by New York Times reporter Barry Meier, both Giuliani and his then-partner Bernard Kerik "were in direct contact with Asa Hutchinson, the administrator of DEA." Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. Hutchinson told the Blotter on ABCNews.com today that Giuliani asked for a meeting, "and we gave him a meeting." Hutchinson says he was aware the company was under investigation at the time, and "any time a company is under investigation I like to give them a chance to make their case."    Kerik told New York Magazine at the time that Giuliani had raised $15,000 in donations for a "traveling museum operated by the DEA." Some officials told ABC News there were questions inside the agency of whether the donations were an attempt to influence the DEA. Meier wrote that "with Giuliani now in the mix, the pace of DEA’s investigation into Purdue’s OxyContin plant in New Jersey slowed as Hutchinson repeatedly summoned division officials to his office to explain themselves and their reasons for continuing the inquiry." Giuliani publicly praised the company, Purdue Frederick, when it hired him in May 2002 for an undisclosed amount. "Purdue has demonstrated its commitment to fighting this problem," he said, referring to the issue of drug addiction. According to Giuliani Partners, Kerik, a New York City police commissioner under Giuliani, was in charge of helping Purdue improve security at the New Jersey plant. Kerik left Giuliani Partners after disclosures he was under criminal investigation. In hiring Giuliani, Purdue said, "Giuliani Partners is uniquely qualified" to address the issue of preventing drug abuse. The Web site for Giuliani Partners lists Purdue Pharma as one of its current clients. A spokeswoman for Giuliani Partners told ABC News today, "The proceeding speaks for itself, and beyond that we’re not going to comment."

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