OxyContin maker, executives fined $634.5M for misleading public

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) - A federal judge on Friday fined Purdue Pharma L.P., the maker of OxyContin, and three of its executives $634.5 million for misleading the public about its risk of addiction.

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

Michael Friedman, who retired in June as Purdue's president, general counsel Howard Udell and former chief medical officer Paul Goldenheim each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of misbranding the drug.

Of the total fine, $34.5 million was levied on those three. U.S. District Judge James Jones placed the company on probation for five years and each of the executives on probation for three years.

He also ordered the three to perform 400 hours of community service related to prevention of prescription drug abuse.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)