Friday, July 20, 2007

Why didn't the FDA protect the public from Oxycontin

These people were no better than heroin dealers. As is so often the case, a lawyer was instrumental in these crimes by businessmen.

The Associated Press
Published: July 20, 2007

OxyContin maker, executives fined $634.5 million for misleading public

ABINGDON, Virginia: A federal judge on Friday fined the maker of painkiller OxyContin and three executives $634.5 million for misleading the public about its risk of addiction.

U.S. District Judge James Jones said he would have preferred to have the plea agreements call for spending money on education of those at risk of drug abuse and treatment of those who are addicted to OxyContin. But Jones said he would not reject the agreement.

"Many young people mistakenly believe today that prescription drugs are safer than other drugs," Jones said.

Designed to be swallowed whole and digested over 12 hours, the pills can produce a heroin-like high if crushed and then swallowed, snorted or injected.

Purdue Pharma L.P., its top lawyer and former president and former chief medical officer pleaded guilty in May and under an agreement for claiming that OxyContin was less addictive and less subject to abuse than other pain medications...

The coal-mining region of southwest Virginia where the sentencing took place has had a number of oxycodone-related deaths — 119 from 2003 through 2005, according to the state medical examiner's office...

Survivors of the victims want the Food and Drug Administration to reclassify OxyContin for use only for severe pain. The drug currently can be prescribed for moderate pain...

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