Purdue Pharma to Stop Promoting OxyContin to US Doctors

Sunday, 11 Feb, 2018

The company's sales representatives will stop visiting physician offices and doctors will need to call the company's medical affairs department to obtain information about its opioid products, the company's head of medical affairs, Monica Kwarcinski, said in note to healthcare professionals that the company provided to Reuters.

Purdue, which has reportedly generated approximately $35 billion dollars in revenue, in a statement said it had "restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers".

This comes after 14 states sued the company for deceptive marketing, accusing the company of pushing the addictive painkillers. OxyContin is the nation's top-selling opioid painkiller. Instead, the company said it will direct prescribers to materials published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the office of the US surgeon general.

The lawsuits have generally accused Purdue of downplaying OxyContin's addiction risk and of misleading marketing that overstated the benefits of opioids for treating chronic, rather than short-term, pain.

A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D.at a local pharmacy, in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017.

A group of state attorneys general have been conducting a multistate investigation into whether companies that manufacture and distribute prescription opioids engaged in unlawful practices.

Purdue is also facing a federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in CT. 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.

That year, Purdue also reached a $19.5 million settlement with 26 states and the District of Columbia.

U.S. President Donald Trump has drawn criticism for his response to the opioid crisis.