Oxycontin Maker Purdue Pharma Will Stop Marketing the Drug to US Doctors
Feb 12, 2018, 00:28
The maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin said it will stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors, bowing to a key demand of lawsuits that blame the company for helping trigger the current drug abuse epidemic.
"We would have more success in encouraging cautious prescribing if drug companies stopped promoting aggressive prescribing", he told the Times. "Even if we save one life due to this decision, it is worth it". The company will still handle requests from doctors who have questions about drugs such as OxyContin, through its medical affairs department.
"Effective Monday, February 12, 2018, our field sales organization will no longer be visiting your offices to engage you in discussions about our opioid products", Kwarcinski said in the letter, which was released to media outlets. It will now have about 200 sales representatives, Purdue said. Accordingly, the company has laid off more than 50 percent of its sales force, with the remaining employees focusing on non-opioid products. Symproic is used to treat opioid-related constipation. Purdue Pharma has total revenue of about $3 billion, with perhaps a third of the total coming from painkiller OxyContin. Opioid litigation increased sharply in 2017 when hundreds of cities, counties and states sued opioid makers, wholesalers, distributors and marketers.
Medical professionals say a shift in the 1990s to "institutionalize" pain management opened the doors for pharmaceutical companies to encourage the mass prescribing of painkillers by doctors, and Purdue Pharma led that effort.
The government claims the results have been tragic - and left government agencies with millions in social and health care costs.
Opioids, though, were involved in more than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the most recent figures suggest that 145 Americans now die every day from overdoses.
Purdue's promotions exaggerated the drug's safety and risks of addiction, leading to lawsuits and federal investigations.
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