Opioid Maker Says It Won't Market In Doctors' Offices Anymore

Posted February 12, 2018

Prescription opioid giant Purdue Pharma will stop promoting its opioid drugs to doctors, a retreat after years of criticism that the company's aggressive sales efforts helped lay the foundation for the US addiction crisis. 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.

The pharmaceutical company said it will cut its sales force by more than 50 percent, leaving about 200 people remaining in the department. Purdue Pharma's medical affairs team will now field any questions regarding pain medications from doctors. Because OxyContin was an extended release version of Oxycodone, requiring use only once every twelve hours, many initially believed that it would be less addictive than other narcotics.

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The unexpected shift in policy from Purdue Pharma is likely a concession to the demands of dozens of states and localities suing the drug maker, along with other manufacturers of opioid painkillers, for igniting the addiction crisis through deceptive marketing practices that downplayed the risks of their drugs.

USA deaths linked to opioids have quadrupled since 2000 to roughly 42,000 in 2016, or about 115 lives lost per day.

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This comes as research has also revealed that mothers continued to be penalised at work, as they look to find part-time roles. Paula Lee , of Leigh Day , said: 'We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid for many years .

Purdue first introduced Oxycontin in 1985.

Purdue's sales representatives will now focus on the Symproic drug created to treat opioid-induced constipation, and other non-opioid products.

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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. As the country continues to battle with an opioid epidemic, one of the largest producers of prescription opioids has made an important marketing decision that may potentially impact the war on addictive drugs. Users, however, later learned that they could be heroin-like high from the drug by crushing the pills or by injecting or snorting them. But the drug continued to rack up blockbuster sales.