OxyContin Settlement: Will drug makers think twice?

Harvey Kirk

By Harvey Kirk
Posted June 25, 2007


Last month, the makers of Oxycontin, Purdue Pharma, reached an agreement worth over $635 million to resolve criminal charges stemming from their false marketing regarding the risk of addiction associated with the painkiller.  A large portion of the profits the company generated while mislabeling their drug and misleading physicians will be handed over as part of the OxyContin settlement.  However, many believe that the fine is not enough and that only jail time for company executives will prevent this type of action in the future.

>>INFORMATION:  OxyContin Addiction Problems

According to the New York Times, the OxyContin settlement represents 90 percent of the profits Purdue “initially made from the drug”.  A Federal judge is expected to rule next month on whether he will accept the drug maker’s guilty plea to criminal charges of misleading doctors and patients by claiming that the time-released painkiller was less likely to be abused than traditional narcotics.

Under the terms of the settlement, Purdue will pay approximately $470 million of the fines to various state and federal agencies and about $130 million has been set aside to settle OxyContin lawsuits filed by users who suffered addiction and overdose.

Although the settlement does not call for company executives to go to prison, three top officials will be required to pay a total of $34.5 million in fines.  Michael Friedman, the company’s president, will pay back $19 million of the compensation he received; Howard R. Udell, the general counsel, will pay $9 million; and Dr. Paul D. Goldenheim, the former medical director, will hand over $7.5 million.

Industry watchdogs, together with those who have suffered severe harm from OxyContin addiction (many of them parents of teenagers who died), are urging the Judge to reject the plea deal.  They believe that the only way to deter corporations from placing profits before the safety of consumers is to require executives to spend time in jail.

Contrary to the false claims made by Purdue Pharma, OxyContin is highly addictive and it has lead to severe addiction, financial ruin, overdose and death.  According to the Virginia medical examiner, that state saw over 200 OxyContin-related deaths between 1996 and 2005.  It is unknown how many lost their lives nationwide because of the companies actions.


UPDATE 9/4/2007: Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. is no longer reviewing potential new OxyContin lawsuits. 

Despite the OxyContin settlement of criminal charges, lawsuits are still being pursued for individual users.  The OxyContin lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk are reviewing potential claims to determine if those who have suffered addiction, overdose or death may still be able to obtain compensation for their injuries.  If you, a friend or family member believe you may have a claim, request a free consultation.

2 Comments • Add Your Comments

  • Jennifer Robles says:

    I am a young mother of two I’ve had back problems for years the doctor did a spinal fusion put me on the Oxycontin and for months I kept taking it and taking it and it almost tore my marriage up. I can remember taking my husband gun ( he was a police officer) and threatned to kill myself because I did not want to lose my drug. Well it took for me to hit rock bottom and I finally admitted I needed to get off the medicine, I called my doctor and you would not even believe his response, at first he increased my dosage and I had the willpower and a whole lot a courage and went to him and lied and told him i was pregnant well he then decided to ” discharge” me as a patient. I finally went to rehab and for two days I went through the worst hell of my life. I laid in my own throw up for two days,. rehab employees told me that was part of rehab to see how hard it was to get off and wanted to remind me if i ever forgot how bad it was. I remember the first night I told my husband to come back and take me home so he did come and the guy from rehab told him ” she’ll be back” it was the first time I ever left my baby boy and that was part of the hell too. I’m ok now I do think Doctors are so willingly to give the drug away. I don’t think they should distribute it like candy. I realized how easy it was to get it.
    If your even thinking about getting on it please please be careful. Its horrible and it may make you feel great for a few times but its ruining your body in ways you aren’t going to see right away.

    Posted on August 2, 2007 at 11:47 am

  • steve says:

    i am a 22 year old male, and i am severly hooked on oxycontin, it has more then ruined my life, i started about 7 years ago and its has gotten to be so bad that i have lost everything, i have no job because all i want to do is more pills. I want to kill myself because of what oxy has done to me, where i live in vermont they cost 90 or 100 dollars for 1 80mg tablet, and when you need 5 or 6 a day just to not be in severe pain and be sick its like oxy has eaten me up and spit me out. i have been to rehab a couple times and still i cannot stop, its has given me insomnia so bad that most of the time i sleep every other day and sometimes be up for a few days just because i cant fall asleep. I can eat right and its all because of oxycontin. i wish they never made that drug. I want to do something about this, i have had the worst pain and suffering the last few years that id rather be dead then be addicted.

    Posted on April 20, 2008 at 8:17 am

Add Your Comments

  • Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

    Provide contact information below and additional private comments if you want an attorney to contact you to review a potential case.

    The information below will not be published to this page.

  • NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.