Oxycontin Maker Purdue Pharma To Stop Agressive Marketing Of Opioids

Oxycontin bottle on pharmacy shelf

OxyContin has always been the world's top-selling opioid painkiller and generated billions in sales for privately-held Purdue.

"We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers", the company said.

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 US sales staff by more than half.

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Purdue Pharma will no longer target US doctors in its efforts to sell OxyContin, a prescription opioid whose overprescription fueled America's opioid crisis - and made billions for Purdue's founding family. The decision comes as the drug maker continues to face criticism for marketing addictive painkillers.

The announcement, first reported by Bloomberg, marks the end of an era for a company that changed the paradigm for opioid use in part through aggressive, in-person marketing to doctors.

"Overall, the impact will be small because the genie is out of the bottle", Kolodny said. OxyContin is the nation's top-selling opioid painkiller. It generated billions in sales for privately-held Purdue.

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The company in 2007 paid out $600 million to settle civil and criminal charges related to the drug's marketing, with three company executives agreeing to pay an additional $34.5 million. But some users quickly discovered they could get a heroin-like high by crushing the pills and snorting or injecting the entire dose at once. Purdue also stopped selling the original form of the drug.

"The genie is already out of the bottle", said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University and an advocate for stronger regulation of opioid drug companies. Purdue sold the drug by trying to convince Doctors that previous concerns regarding opioid addiction and abuse had been overdone and resulted in patient pain and discomfort that could have been effectively treated.

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