ROANOKE, Va. -- The maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin and three of its current and former executives pleaded guilty Thursday to misleading the public about the drug's risk of addiction, a federal prosecutor and the company said.
Purdue Pharma LP and the executives will pay $634.5 million in fines, U.S. Attorney John Brownlee said in the news release.
Earlier this week, Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $19.5 million to 26 states and the District of Columbia to settle complaints over its promotion of the powerful painkiller OxyContin, especially to doctors, the company said.
The states complained the Stamford, Conn., drug maker had been encouraging physicians to prescribe the drug for use every eight hours, instead of the 12-hour dose approved by the Food and Drug Administration. OxyContin is a time-release painkiller that can be highly addictive. Designed to be swallowed whole and digested over 12 hours, the pills can produce a heroin-like high if crushed and then swallowed, snorted or injected.