Executives sentenced in OxyContin case

July 21, 2007 at 11:25 PM
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ABINGDON, Va., July 21 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Virginia ordered three Purdue Pharma executives to work for 400 hours in drug treatment programs for their marketing of OxyContin.

The company has also agreed to pay $634 million in damages, CNN reported. The company was also placed on five years probation and each of the three executives was put on three years probation.

In the Virginia sentencing, parents from all over the country testified about the deaths of their children from OxyContin overdoses, The New York Times said.

"Our children were not drug addicts, they were typical teenagers," Teresa Ashcraft told U.S. District Judge James Jones. "We have been given a life sentence due to their lies and greed."

OxyContin is a time-release form of the painkiller oxycodone. Critics said Purdue encouraged doctors in family practice to prescribe the drug, putting more OxyContin on the streets.

The drug became notorious when Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio talk show host, admitted he was addicted to OxyContin.

The executives -- former President Michael Friedman, legal chief Howard R. Udell, and Dr. Paul D. Goldenheim, the former medical director -- pleaded guilty to misbranding.

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