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$634.5M settlement for OxyContin maker

May 10, 2007 at 5:03 PM

ROANOKE, Va., May 10 (UPI) -- Purdue Pharma L.P. of Connecticut agreed to pay $634.5 million to settle criminal and civil penalties over misbranding of the painkiller OxyContin.

The firm and the current and former executives, including the CEO, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Va., to a felony charge of misleading doctors and consumers about the drug's risks of abuse and addiction, CNN said Wednesday. The four executives agreed to pay $34.5 million in penalties.

The settlement, which ends a four-year federal investigation, represents less than a year's sales of the drug, which has been widely abused.

Earlier this week, Purdue Pharma settled civil charges with 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for $19.5 million.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved OxyContin in 1996 and the drug became a $1 billion a year revenue producer.

"Nearly six years and longer ago, some employees made, or told other employees to make, certain statements about OxyContin to some healthcare professionals that were inconsistent with the FDA-approved prescribing information for OxyContin and the express warnings it contained about risks associated with the medicine," Stamford-based Purdue Phama said in a statement.

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