OxyContin Maker Cuts Half Of Sales Staff, Stops Promoting Painkillers To Doctors

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. The company was found to have overstated how long the effects of the medication lasted and severely downplayed the addiction risks of the drug. But she warned that tightening the prescription supply already has illegal drug dealers turning out more pills that look like branded prescription meds but can be even more risky.

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. The peak year for opioid prescriptions was 2011 when 220 million prescriptions were filled.

Its sales representatives will now focus on Symproic, a drug for treating opioid-induced constipation, and other potential non-opioid products, Purdue said.

Doctors who want information on opioids will now need to contact the company's medical affairs department. In a release yesterday, the drug maker said it had reduced its sales force by more than half to about 200 positions.

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Growing awareness of Purdue's handling of OxyContin has also recently attracted scrutiny of the Sacklers, the family that controls the privately held firm.

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.

USA deaths linked to opioids have quadrupled since 2000 to roughly 42,000 in 2016, or about 115 lives lost per day. "We are committed to being part of the solution by partnering with local law enforcement, state and local government agencies, and community groups across the country".

Purdue and three former executives pleaded guilty in federal court a decade ago to criminal charges of misleading the public about the addictive nature of OxyContin, paying more than $630 million in fines and penalties.

  • Myrtle Hill