[JURIST] Drug maker Purdue Pharma LP [corporate website] pleaded guilty Thursday and agreed to pay $634.5 million [plea agreement, PDF] in fines for misleading the public about the addiction risk of a painkiller it produced. According to prosecutors, Purdue knew in 1995 that doctors were worried that the drug OxyContin [FDA materials] was addictive, but hid that information from its sales representatives. In a statement [PDF text], the company admitted that some employees had made inaccurate statements about OxyContin to physicians.
Earlier this week, Purdue agreed to pay $19.5 million [AP report] to 26 states and the District of Columbia to settle charges that it pushed doctors to overprescribe OxyContin. AP has more.