Wisconsin To Receive $719,500 In Multi-State Settlement Reached With Drug Company Over Advertising Practices

May 8 2007
Wisconsin To Receive $719,500 In Multi-State Settlement Reached With Drug Company Over Advertising Practices


Wisconsin, 25 Other States and D.C. Address Concerns with Purdue Pharma's Pain Drug - OxyContin


MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that Wisconsin and 25 other states, as well as the District of Columbia, filed settlements with Purdue Pharma over marketing practices regarding the narcotic pain medication OxyContin.


The settlement provides for a monetary payment by Purdue to the states in the amount of $19,500,000. Wisconsin's share of the settlement is $719,500.


The settlement resolves concerns that Purdue had engaged in extensive off-label marketing (i.e., recommending uses beyond the approved indications and uses of the drug) of OxyContin, a time-released, Schedule II opioid used for pain management of moderate to severe pain over an extended period of time, and that Purdue failed to adequately disclose abuse and diversion risks associated with the drug in violation of the states' respective consumer protection statutes.


The state alleged that Section 100.18 of the Wisconsin Statutes, prohibiting representations that are "misleading, deceptive, or untrue" was violated by the defendant.


"Wisconsin law requires prescription drug marketers to provide true and accurate representations of their products to consumers," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "Not doing so is not only a violation of our laws, but can have potentially dangerous consequences for patients and the community and large."


The settlement, in the form of a Consent Judgment was filed in Dane County Circuit Court on May 8, 2007. The injunctive provisions contained in the order address those marketing practices believed to have been excessive or abusive. Significantly, the settlement further requires Purdue to maintain an abuse and diversion detection program that the company established internally to detect problem prescribing, and requires all field personnel to undergo training on the program before being allowed to promote OxyContin.


Among the restrictions and requirements contained in the settlement, are provisions that Purdue must:


  • market and promote OxyContin in a manner consistent with its package insert and not in a manner that minimizes the approved uses for the drug;
  • not market or promote OxyContin for off-label purposes - those beyond the approved indications and uses of the drug;
  • have any recipient of funds or other remuneration for grants publicly disclose the existence of that remuneration;
  • not sponsor or fund any educational events where Purdue has knowledge at the time the decision for sponsorship or funding is made that a speaker will recommend the off-label use of OxyContin;
  • not exclusively base Purdue sales representatives' bonuses solely on the volume of OxyContin prescribed;
  • take into account in the performance evaluations of sales representative's their educating prescribers about OxyContin and its potential for abuse and diversion.


In addition to the requirements to market and promote OxyContin only in line with FDA-approved uses, and formalizing the "OxyContin Abuse and Diversion Detection Program," the settlement prohibits Purdue from making any false, misleading or deceptive claim regarding OxyContin.


Taking part in the investigation of Purdue's business practices, as well as in today's settlement are the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.


Assistant Attorney General Cynthia Hirsch represented the State of Wisconsin.