Purdue Pharma, one of the largest manufacturers of Oxycontin in America, has vowed to stop marketing the opioid to doctors. Oxycontin is an opioid medication that has been on the market for over 20 years and is viewed by many addiction and law enforcement professionals to be the catalyst for America’s current opioid addiction crisis. It’s a common drug of abuse and is often responsible for overdoses.
Purdue released a statement saying that it would no longer send sales representatives to market the opioid painkiller at doctor’s offices and that the Medical Affairs office will now handle all Oxycontin orders and queries.
Many people involved in the addiction industry, the medical community and other public heatlh experts say it’s too little, too late.
Purdue has long marketed Oxycontin as effective and safe for use, dropping off samples at the offices of practitioners and telling physicians that it was ideal for treating chronic pain. While these statements weren’t proven, medical marketing is an industry that often finds the loopholes.
Purdue has also done much more than market Oxycontin to doctors. They have also lobbied for the use of opioids under the guise of advocacy groups, according to a report released by Sen. Claire McCaskill. And in states where the opioid epidemic has been raging, the company seemed to look the other way when millions of pills ended up in the street of a comparatively tiny town.
Oxycontin is a dangerous and powerful drug. Purdue has made millions of dollars from the opioid crisis, ceasing to market Oxycontin isn’t a step closer to making amends for the years of damage the drug has caused through deceptive marketing. Over a dozen states are suing Purdue for what they call false marketing practices that cost local lives. West Virginia was one of the first to sue. They settled years ago, but Purdue never admitted wrongdoing.
Purdue says that with the changes in marketing, they laid off half of their sales positions, leaving the remaining 200 sales employees to focus on marketing other medications. That’s a lot of sales reps that were once actively marketing a drug well-known for its addiction properties. But where is the promise they won’t do the same thing with another dangerous drug?