Oxycontin Maker Purdue Pharma To Stop Agressive Marketing Of Opioids

Oxycontin Maker Purdue Pharma To Stop Agressive Marketing Of Opioids

The decision comes as the drug maker continues to face criticism for marketing addictive painkillers.

Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin, said on Saturday it will stop marketing opioid drugs to physicians following a slew of lawsuits against the company over the opioid epidemic, The Hill reports.

USA deaths linked to opioids have quadrupled since 2000 to roughly 42,000 in 2016, or about 115 lives lost per day.

The US drugmaker said it will inform doctors on Monday that its sales representatives will no longer be visiting doctors' offices to discuss its opioid products. Accordingly, the company has laid off more than 50 percent of its sales force, with the remaining employees focusing on non-opioid products.

Purdue, which has reportedly generated approximately $35 billion dollars in revenue, in a statement said it had "restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers".


Doctors who want information on opioids will now need to contact the company's medical affairs department. As the country continues to battle with an opioid epidemic, one of the largest producers of prescription opioids has made an important marketing decision that may potentially impact the war on addictive drugs. Many of those overdoses are attributed to other opioids, including fentanyl and heroin, which OxyContin users often switch to after becoming addicted to the painkiller.

"Overall, the impact will be small because the genie is out of the bottle", Kolodny said.

In 2007, Purdue Pharma and three of its executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges of misrepresenting their product's addictiveness, and paid a total of $635 million in fines.

Sales of OxyContin, which is a long-acting version of the drug oxycodone that was created to deliver medicine over 12 hours, grew rapidly after it hit the market in 1996. In 2010, the firm released a new version of OxyContin that is more hard to crush - and therefore more hard to abuse by snorting or injecting it.

"We would have more success in encouraging cautious prescribing if drug companies stopped promoting aggressive prescribing", he told the Times. It later acknowledged that its promotions exaggerated the safety of the drug and minimized its risk for addiction.

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