Drug maker pays $19.5 million.
Drug maker to pay $19.5 million over OxyContin promotion.
HARTFORD, Conneticut --Drug maker Purdue Pharma L.P. agreed to pay $19.5 million to 26 states, including North Carolina, and the District of Columbia over its promotion of the powerful painkiller OxyContin, especially to doctors, the company said Tuesday.
The states had complained that Purdue had been encouraging physicians to prescribe the drugs for use every eight hours, instead of the every 12-hour dose approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
"Some medicines can do more harm than good when used the wrong way," said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. "Drug makers need to give doctors and patients accurate information about their drugs or expect to face the consequences."
Among other things, the settlement requires Purdue to abide by the warning on its packaging insert, stop marketing the drug for use in ways other than approved by the FDA, and maintain an internal abuse diversion detection program.
"It has always been Purdue's written policy that promotion of its products must adhere to FDA-approved prescribing information for those products as well as applicable laws," the company said in a statement. "The company maintains a comprehensive compliance program to ensure its employees and operations comply with its internal policies and all applicable laws and requirements, including the provisions of the agreements announced today."
In North Carolina, officials have investigated 10 cases involving the illegal diversion and misuse of OxyContin by health care professionals, and 31 counties have above-average rates of OxyContin prescriptions, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Other states taking part in the settlement are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.