OxyContin maker to pay $19.5M settlement

Purdue Pharma says it failed to disclose the drug's potential for abuse and addiction and promoted the painkiller for off-label use.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Drugmaker Purdue Pharma said Tuesday it would pay $19.5 million to 27 U.S. states for marketing its pain reliever OxyContin for off-label use and for failing to properly disclose the drug's potential for abuse and addiction.

Purdue Pharma agreed to change the way it markets and promotes OxyContin for off-label use, prescribing drugs that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and to not make false, misleading or deceptive statements about the drug.

The settlement with the attorney generals of 27 states, includes a payment of $715,900 to North Carolina and the drugmaker will require all sales representatives to attend training on abuse and diversion before being allowed to promote the drug, among the requirements.

OxyContin is a prescription drug approved for treating long-term moderate to severe pain. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the drug is a Schedule II narcotic often abused for non-medical purposes.

So far this year, the NC State Bureau of Investigation has investigated 10 cases involving the illegal diversion and misuse of OxyContin by healthcare professionals. The DEA reported 31 North Carolina counties that have above average rates of OxyContin prescriptions.

Privately held Purdue Pharma competes with Merck (up $0.16 to $52.19, Charts, Fortune 500), Pfizer (up $0.00 to $27.38, Charts, Fortune 500) and Johnson & Johnson (down $0.63 to $63.63, Charts, Fortune 500).  Top of page