Purdue settles OxyContin charge for $600M

Drugmaker in plea agreement with Justice Department over charges of misleading and defrauding doctors and consumers.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma LP, agreed Thursday to a $600 million penalty as part of a plea deal with the Justice Department on a felony charge of misleading and defrauding physicians and consumers, the government said.

Three of the company's executives, including its CEO, general counsel and former chief medical officer, have separately agreed to pay $34.5 million in penalties. The company and the three men appeared in federal court Thursday to plead guilty.

The company also agreed to subject itself to independent monitoring and a remedial action program.

"Purdue ... acknolwedged that it illegally marketed and promoted OxyContin by falsely claiming that OxyContin was less addictive, less subject to abuse and diversion, and less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms than other pain medications - all in an effort to maximize its profits," said U.S. Attorney John Brownlee.

"With its OxyContin, Purdue unleashed a highly abusable, addictive and potentially dangerous drug on an unsuspecting and unknowing public. For these misrepresentations and crimes, Purdue and its executives have been brought to justice," he added.

Purdue Pharma is privately owned. Top of page