|February 26, 2018
Purdue Pharma Announces Cessation of Marketing Oxycontin to Prescribers
The privately held company based in Stamford, Ct. made the announcement following criticism of the way that opioid manufacturers market controlled substances. The company's remaining sales force of 200 detailers will now focus on Symproic, a drug for treating opioid-induced constipation and other potential non-opioid products.
Purdue and other manufacturers have been fighting lawsuits by state, counties and cities that have alleged that the companies deceptively marketed their opioid products. Purdue and three executives pleaded guilty in 2007 to federal charges related to the misbranding of oxycontin and paid $634.5 million to settle charges brought about by a U.S. Justice Department investigation. Purdue also reached a $19.5 million settlement that same year with 26 states and the District of Columbia. It agreed in 2015 to pay $24 million to resolve a lawsuit in Kentucky.
In an interview with Maine Public radio one week ago, MMA President Robert Schlager, M.D. noted that while the action by the company was a good step, it was one that should have taken place many years ago and expressed concern that the company has arrangements with companies marketing their product internationally and that those companies are allegedly using the same marketing tactics as were used in this country. Family physician Noah Nesin, M.D. of Bangor in the same story noted that the company begin this marketing over 20 years ago and that as a result hundreds of thousands of patients developed opioid use disorder and many have been victims of overdose deaths.
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