OxyContin Settlement: Will drug makers think twice?
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.