A US federal court in West Virginia has ordered Purdue
Pharma to pay $634 million in settlement to defendants
in claims over OxyContin drug.
court also sentenced three top executives of Prude Pharma
that makes the narcotic to three years'' probation and
400 hours each of community service in drug treatment
Conn-based Purdue Pharma acknowledged that its staff had
violated prescription requirements for its OxyContin painkiller.
The company also acknowledged that its "fraudulent
conduct caused a greater amount of OxyContin to be available
for illegal use than otherwise would have been available."
James P. Jones of the US district court who heard testimony
from parents of young adults who died from overdoses involving
the painkiller OxyContin indicated that he was troubled
by his inability to send the executives to prison.
testified at the hearing also included some patients who
testified about the pain relief they had received from
prosecutors had failed to produce evidence as part of
a recent plea intended to show that officials at the drug
maker were aware of wrongdoings.
Pharma said the three "top executives" would
be charged with felony. The company said that it would
also be charged with a felony.
$634 million represents 90 per cent of the profits for
OxyContin sales during the time of the offence.
which is a long-acting, time-release form of the narcotic
oxycodone, is used to treat serious pain. Several reports
have suggested that Purdue may have helped fuel widespread
abuse of the drug by aggressively promoting it to general
practitioners not skilled in either pain treatment or
in recognising drug abuse. The company has denied such
addicts and young experimenters quickly discovered that
a pill needed only to be chewed or crushed before ingesting
to release large doses of oxycodone, which produces a
heroin like high. The misuse of the drug OxyContin exploded
in early 2000, just a few years after it was first sold.
of the victims want the US Food and Drug Administration
to reclassify OxyContin for use only for severe pain.
The drug currently can be prescribed for moderate pain.
ruling, however, may no mean an end op Purdue Pharma''s
legal problems. A clutch of insurers had sued it, seeking
compensation for what they contend were unnecessary prescriptions
for OxyContin, a very expensive drug that were written
because of the company''s false marketing claims.