OxyContin maker, execs hit with fine

From Times Wire Services

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and three of its executives were ordered to pay a $634.5-million fine for misleading the public about the painkiller’s risk of addiction.

U.S. District Judge James Jones in Virginia levied the fine on Purdue, its top lawyer and former president and former chief medical officer. The judge heard from numerous people who said their lives were changed by addiction to OxyContin, a trade name for a long-acting form of the painkiller oxycodone.

From 1996 to 2001, the number of oxycodone-related deaths nationwide increased fivefold while the annual number of prescriptions rose nearly 20-fold.

The executives pleaded guilty in May. The sentencing ends a long-running national case.