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For Immediate Release
May 8, 2007

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Announces Settlement with
Purdue Pharma Pharmaceutical Company
Company to Change Practices in Marketing of Oxycontin

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division, together with the offices of Attorneys General from 26 other states, has entered into a settlement of Consumer Protection Act claims against Purdue Pharma (“Purdue”) regarding the narcotic pain medication OxyContin, a time-released narcotic drug approved for the treatment of moderate to severe pain over an extended period of time. The settlement resolves concerns that Purdue engaged in extensive off-label marketing of OxyContin and that Purdue failed to adequately disclose abuse and diversion risks associated with the drug in violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

The complaint filed by the Consumer Protection Division alleges that Purdue aggressively promoted OxyContin to doctors and consumers as a first-choice analgesic for treatment of a wide variety of pain symptoms, including those beyond the approved indications and uses of the drug. Although OxyContin has addictive qualities similar to morphine, Purdue downplayed the known risks of OxyContin abuse, addiction and diversion for inappropriate uses. Purdue failed to adequately warn doctors or consumers of OxyContin’s significant risks and failed to take reasonable steps to guard against OxyContin abuse and diversion.

“It is important that pharmaceutical companies adopt responsible policies that minimize the improper usage of their products,” said Attorney General Gansler. “These companies must communicate clear and accurate information about the risks of the drugs that they market.”

The consent order filed today in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City requires Purdue to market and promote OxyContin only in a manner consistent with FDA-approved uses. Further, the consent order requires Purdue to maintain a program designed to identify potential abuse of OxyContin or diversion for illegal drug use, and requires all Purdue field personnel to undergo education and training on the program before being allowed to promote OxyContin. In addition, Purdue is prohibited from making any false, misleading or deceptive claims regarding OxyContin. Finally, the settlement provides for a monetary payment by Purdue to Maryland in the amount of $719,500.

Taking part in the investigation of Purdue’s business practices, as well as in the settlement, are the following states : Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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