OxyContin Maker Cuts Half Of Sales Staff, Stops Promoting Painkillers To Doctors

OxyContin Maker Cuts Half Of Sales Staff, Stops Promoting Painkillers To Doctors

Purdue Pharma, the drug company behind Oxycontin, said on Saturday that it will stop promoting opioids to physicians and has, in fact, halved its sales force.

Most recently, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing Purdue of deceptively marketing prescription opioids to generate billions of dollars in sales.

The company also said it eliminated more than half its sales staff this week and will no longer send sales representatives to doctors' offices to discuss opioid drugs. The company will still handle requests from doctors who have questions about drugs such as OxyContin, through its medical affairs department.

Purdue and other opioid makers and distributors face dozens of lawsuits - including from New Hampshire and the cities of Manchester and Nashua - in which they're accused of creating a public health crisis through their marketing of the painkillers.

Purdue "vigorously denies" any misconduct, saying it has consistently followed the CDC's opioid guidelines including not recommending opioids as a first option.

Alabama last Tuesday became the latest state to file a lawsuit accusing the private CT company of fueling the US epidemic by misrepresenting the risks and benefits of opioids.

"We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers", Purdue said in a statement. The drug was marketed as a non-addictive treatment for chronic pain. 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.

On its website, Purdue-which is a privately held company-is positioning itself as still wanting to be a player in pain management going forward.

The government pressure on opioid prescribing is having a profound effect.

Although initially driven by prescription drugs, most opioid deaths now involve illicit drugs, including heroin and fentanyl.

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