Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

OxyContin maker Purdue will no longer market opioid drugs to doctors

OxyContin maker Purdue will no longer market opioid drugs to doctors

A drugmaker says it will no longer market its opioid products in doctors' offices after facing backlash for the way the industry promotes the addictive drugs. OxyContin has always been the world's top-selling opioid painkiller, bringing in billions in sales for privately held Purdue, which also sells a newer and longer-lasting opioid drug called Hysingla.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Purdue will continue selling the drug, but will no longer send salespeople to doctors' offices to promote it. Purdue will cut its USA sales staff by more than half.

Purdue's head of medical affairs, Monica Kwarcinski, said the company also plans to run all questions through its medical affairs department as part of its efforts to support "responsible" opioid use.

Amid the opioid epidemic, Purdue and other drugmakers have been fighting a wave of lawsuits by states, counties and cities that have accused them of pushing addictive painkillers through deceptive marketing.

"We would have more success in encouraging cautious prescribing if drug companies stopped promoting aggressive prescribing", he told the Times.

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We were the first company to introduce an opioid pain medication with abuse-deterrent properties and labeling claims, and we are investing in research to develop non-opioid pain medications.

At least 14 states have sued privately-held Purdue. It was an extended release version of the opiate Oxycodone, which had been used to treat pain since 1916.

Purdue said in a statement that it "vigorously denies" allegations of misconduct, adding that its products account for only "approximately 2%" of all opioid prescriptions. Sales of OxyContin and other opioids have fallen recently amid pressure from regulators, insurers, and the general public.

Opioids killed more than 42,000 people in 2016 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 40 percent of those deaths involved a prescription opioid.

Eventually, Purdue acknowledged that its promotions exaggerated the drug's safety and minimized the risks of addiction.

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