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Shapiro & Appleton

Drug Company Hurt Patients With Product OxyContin

Posted on May 18, 2007
The company called Purdue Pharma has made 2.5 billion dollars selling this drug by telling doctors and patients that it was less likely than existing pain killers to lead to addiction problems. Doctors know that heavy pain killers are very likely to get patients into trouble because of their powerful narcotic effects. The most seriously injured patients often have a hard time weaning themselves off of pain killers after bad injuries. It turns out that the drug maker in this case knew that the risk of addiction was even higher with OxyContin on the level of morphine. The company lied to get more sales.

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia (VA) should be commended for a five year fight against this big drug company. They were able to extract a fine of over 600 million dollars. They obtained convictions against three individuals for crimes associated with this fraud. Hopefully, big pharmacy companies in the future will pay attention that sometimes the government will take them to task for false advertising. However, the company still made well over a billion dollars that didn’t have to be disgorged. So, big drug companies may make the decision that even if they get caught lying about their drugs that they can still make huge profits. The three executives had to pay fines individually of over 30 million dollars. The very idea that company officials should have 30 million dollars individually to pay a fine shows that something is wrong in the way our corporate culture in America works.

There is a class action against the company for this fraud. Many lives were seriously harmed and some lives were in fact taken as a result of this corporate dishonesty. Some communities were devastated by drug abuse related to OxyContin. People were misusing this prescription drug. People were buying and selling the drug as if it were cocaine. This problem was especially true in rural communities in Western Virginia (VA), in West Virginia (WV), North Carolina (NC) and in other places in the Appalachian areas of the Southern United States. One of the things that the U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Virginia (VA) said was that this was a vindication for the community. This shows that it wasn’t something wrong with the people of Western Virginia (VA) that caused this drug crisis. A large part of the blame goes to this drug company flooding the market with a product that was mislabeled and deliberately sold in a way that was dishonest.

As a personal injury lawyer in Virginia I am always willing to look at products liability cases against drug companies for selling a product which is defective, including because it was fraudulently mislabeled. I believe the OxyContin cases will result in some civil liability for this company for ruining lives now that the intentional fraud by the at-fault company has been shown and admitted to.

About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car,truck,railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.

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