OxyContin Maker Stops Promoting Opioids

The manufacturer of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, halved its sales force to 200 representatives and will stop promoting opioids to physicians. Its sales representatives will instead focus on promoting a drug for opioid-induced constipation and other non-opioid products. Doctors with opioid-related questions will be directed to the company’s medical affairs department.

Purdue and other drug makers have been fighting lawsuits that have accused them of pushing painkillers through deceptive marketing that downplayed addiction risk and overstated the benefits for treating chronic, rather than short-term, pain.

The company and three executives pleaded guilty in 2007 to federal charges related to the misbranding of OxyContin and agreed to pay $634.5 million. Purdue also reached a $19.5 million settlement with 26 states and the District of Columbia, and, in 2015, it agreed to pay $24 million to resolve a lawsuit by Kentucky.

Source: Reuters, February 10, 2018.