A federal judge heard emotional testimony from OxyContin overdose victims' families during the sentencing hearing for three pharmaceutical executives accused of misleading the public about the drugs, but in the end the officials got off with fines but no jail time.
The Associated Press reported July 21 that the three Purdue Pharma officials were ordered to pay a total of $34.5 million in fines out of a total fine against the company of $635.5 million. The officials included the company's top lawyer, former president, and former chief medical officer.
Each pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of misbranding the drug, which has caused hundreds of overdose deaths among both legitimate pain patients and those who took the powerful opiate-based drug to get high. The three officials were sentenced to three years probation and ordered to perform 400 hours of community service on prescription-drug abuse prevention, while the company was placed on five years probation.
Victims and their family members called for the executives to face jail time, not just fines. “Money can't buy all the lives that are lost,” said former OxyContin addict Robert Palmisano, 23. But lawyers for the officials said their clients were charged because of their job titles, not because of “any acts of misconduct on their part.”