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OxyContin Maker to Stop Marketing Opioid Products to Physicians

11 February 2018, 10:56 | Winifred Adams

OxyContin Maker to Stop Marketing Opioid Products to Physicians

The maker of the powerful painkiller Oxy Contin said it will stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors a surprise reversal after lawsuits blamed the company for helping trigger the current drug abuse epidemic. Oxy Contin has long been the world's top-selling

Purdue Pharma, the company best known for selling the prescription painkiller OxyContin, announced on Saturday that they would stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors. Will this have a significant impact on the opioid epidemic?

Purdue has faced criticism for more than a decade that it has aggressively and irresponsibly pushed the sale of its drug OxyContin. But he said the companies have promoted them as a treatment for chronic pain, where they are more harmful and less helpful, because it's more profitable.

In recent years, several U.S. states, counties and cities have mounted legal cases accusing prescription drug companies of helping to drive a devastating opioid overdose epidemic in the United States.

The Connecticut-based drugmaker said that it has already reduced its sales representative to 200 and has restructured its commercial operation.The drug company said that its sales representatives will longer visit doctors' offices to promote the company's opioid products.

"The decision by a manufacturer to stop pushing opioid pain medications is late, but better late than never", Cidambi told USA TODAY. It generated billions in sales for privately-held Purdue. But drug abusers quickly discovered they could snort or inject crushed pills to induce a heroin-like high.

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Purdue eventually acknowledged that its promotions exaggerated the drug's safety and minimized the risks of addiction. Officials in Tennessee, which filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma Sept. 29, claim the company's tactics served as a model for other major drug makers to do the same thing.

The drug maker recently attempted to recast itself as an advocate in the fight to end the opioid crisis, while maintaining an aggressive sales push.

Allergan, which makes three opioid pain medications, said it has not actively marketed those drugs in years, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, said it stopped marketing the medications in 2015.

More than 60,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S.in 2016, overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids rose to about 20,000 in 2016 compared with 3,105 in 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reported that more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for prescription opioid overdoses.

A surge in prescriptions of opioids followed the 1995 release of the drug when about 90 million opioid prescriptions were filled. The institute also found that the United States is the biggest consumer of hydrocodone in the world, taking in nearly 100 percent of the world's doses.



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