Insurers and employers can participate in a class action settlement for financial recovery for this fraud, but only if they act by May 19: I'll get to the claimants below.
On May 10, 2007, Purdue Pharma and three of its current or former executives pleaded guilty in a U.S. District court to criminal charges that they deceived regulators, doctors and patients about the addictive properties of the pain drug, Oxycontin, a drug with a high potential for abuseKnowledge of these risks is fundamental to proper medical care.
The lead government attorney on the Purdue case, John Brownlee, stated: "Even in the face of warnings from health care professionals, the media, and members of its own sales force that Oxycontin was being widely abused and causing harm to our citizens, Purdue, under the leadership of its top executives, continued to push a fraudulent marketing campaign that promoted Oxycontin as less addictive, less subject to abuse and less likely to cause withdrawal."
This case is not just about fraud to beat out competing pain drugs. It is also about using deception to increase the probability that thousands of patients, many of them injured workers, will become psychologically and physically dependent on pain medication
A doctor told me that Purdue sales reps pitched this drug to him by asserting that because the patient took Oxycontin every twelve hours, it was safer than competing drugs that need to be taken more frequently.Relying on this misinformation, he frequently prescribed the drug, as did thousands of others, helping turn the drug into a profit-making machine.
As part of the guilty plea, Purdue agreed to a $600 million fine, payable to the federal government.Subsequently, class action lawyers filed suits on behalf of payers, which as a class includes workers' compensation insurers and self-insured employers.A federal court is now supervising a settlement designed to return to claims payers some of their outlays for the drug between 1995 and 2008.
Any party who wants to participate needs to sign up by May 19.Go to www.oxycontintppsettlement.com.
Now to the workers' compensation claimants whose lives were upended by addiction while Purdue peddled Oxycontin as a safer alternative. Claimants cannot participate in the approved class action settlement.
The fiduciary ethical and economic self-interest of claims payers should lead claims payers to alert these claimants so they can then file their own suits against Purdue.
Had it not been for the claimants' use of Oxycontin, they may not have become drug-dependent. They should now have the means to sue for some financial recompense.Workers' comp claims payers might, by cooperating with the claimants' suits, recover some of their outlays for detoxification and disability.
Pain management was brought into the workers' comp tent by a number of actors who, as tenacious and cynical promoters of their products, acquired as battle scars fines and regulatory rebukes.
My advice is to hit them in their pockets. This Oxycontin scandal is not the last one we will see.After a decade of simmering, the mess created by pain management is boiling.
is an expert on the workers' compensation industry.
April 15, 2009
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