OxyContin Makers Plead Guilty to Deceiving Doctors
Beginning in 1995, in response to focus group findings that doctors were anxious over the potential for OxyContin abuse, the company reportedly made the decision to give falsified information to their sales representatives. The information that the company provided to doctors contained the false claim that OxyContin had less potential for addiction and abuse than other painkillers.
Purdue Pharma L.P. has been ordered to pay a total of $634.5 million in fines, with $34.5 being levied specifically against the three who pleaded guilty.
Two days prior to entering of the pleas, the company agreed to pay $19.5 million to 26 states and the District of Columbia to settle complaints that the company encouraged doctors to over-prescribe OxyContin to their patients.
OxyContin is a time-release painkiller. Although designed to be digested over a period of 12 hours, the drug's time released properties can be disabled, producing both a strong narcotic effect and a potentially lethal chemical overdose. These characteristics have lead to both strong black market sales of the drug and several hundred documented OxyContin-related deaths between 1996 and 2001.