Tuesday, February 19, 2008

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Attorney General Abbott Resolves Criminal, Civil Investigation with Purdue Frederick Co.

AUSTIN – The state of Texas has received $1.6 million from Purdue Frederick Co. and its subsidiary Purdue Pharma. The payment resolves civil and criminal Medicaid fraud investigations brought by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who charged Purdue with misrepresenting addictive properties associated with its drug, OxyContin.

The investigation led to guilty pleas from the corporation and several of its executive officers, as well as a $130 million global settlement with state Medicaid programs.

“This agreement ensures that physicians and patients are fully informed about the risks associated with OxyContin,” Attorney General Abbott said. “When Medicaid dollars are spent on falsely represented pharmaceutical products, it is critical that the taxpayers are reimbursed for their losses. The Office of Attorney General will continue investigating and prosecuting those who commit Medicaid fraud.”

When marketing OxyContin to Medicaid, or physicians and patients, Purdue systematically downplayed the drug’s addictive attributes. Studies show OxyContin is a powerfully addicting opiate that is susceptible to abuse if physicians and patients are not properly informed about its effects. Purdue promoted the drug as being less addictive, less susceptible to abuse and less likely to cause withdrawal problems than other pain medications.