May 10, 2007
Purdue To Plead Guilty on OxyContin
According to an article in today's NY Times, the manufacturer of OxyContin is expected to plead guilty and pay over $600 million in fines in connection with its marketing of the painkiller. Numerous civil lawsuits have been brought concerning the addictiveness of OxyContin, but until recently plaintiffs had not had notable success. According to today's article, some of the funds from the criminal and civil penalties will be used to settle civil lawsuits. Here's an excerpt from Barry Meier's article:
The company that makes the narcotic painkiller OxyContin and three current and former executives are expected to plead guilty today in federal court here to criminal charges that they misled regulators, doctors and patients about the drug’s risk of addiction and its potential to be abused, federal officials said.
To resolve criminal and civil charges related to the drug’s “misbranding”, the parent of Purdue Pharma, the company that markets OxyContin, has agreed to pay more than $600 million in fines, these officials said. That is the third-highest amount ever paid by a drug company in such a case.
Also, in a rare move, three executives of Purdue Pharma, including its president and it top lawyer, are expected to plead guilty today as individuals to misbranding charges, a criminal violation. They have agreed to pay a total of $34.5 million in fines, said these officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because court proceedings have not been completed.
... In a proceeding scheduled this morning in United States District Court in Abingdon, Va., both Purdue Pharma and those executives are expected to acknowledge that the company fraudulently marketed OxyContin for six years as a drug that was less prone to abuse as well as one that also had fewer narcotic side effects.
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