Purdue Pharma, the maker of the painkiller OxyContin, has agreed to pay $19.5 million to settle off-label marketing claims and to stop illegal marketing practices that lead to greater abuse of the highly addictive drug, the Hartford Courant reports. The settlement involved 26 states and the District of Columbia.
Purdue Pharma encouraged doctors to prescribe the drug to be administered every eight hours rather than every 12 hours, as required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and state Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr.
Although the drug has “enormous and extraordinary benefits” for many patients, Blumenthal said, illegal use of Oxycontin has been linked to increases in major crime committed by addicts.
Purdue denied that it had been pushing inappropriate dosing. Net sales of OxyContin were valued at $694 million in 2006, according to a Purdue spokesman.