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Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

OxyContin Maker to Stop Marketing Opioid Products to Physicians

OxyContin Maker to Stop Marketing Opioid Products to Physicians

The maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin said it will stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors, bowing to a key demand of lawsuits that blame the company for helping trigger the current drug abuse epidemic. Accordingly, the company has laid off more than 50 percent of its sales force, with the remaining employees focusing on non-opioid products.

Purdue's head of medical affairs, Monica Kwarcinski, said the company also plans to run all questions through its medical affairs department as part of its efforts to support "responsible" opioid use.

Figures from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that one in four people who received prescriptions to opioid drugs such as Oxycontin struggle with addiction. Its sales representatives will now focus on Symproic, a drug for treating opioid-induced constipation, and other potential non-opioid products, Purdue said.

Purdue's sales representatives will now focus on the Symproic drug created to treat opioid-induced constipation, and other non-opioid products. Sales of OxyContin and other opioids have fallen recently amid pressure from regulators, insurers, and the general public. Purdue Pharma is the first major opioid drug maker to end the practice of marketing painkillers to medical professionals, reports Bloomberg. States including Montana, New Jersey, and Alabama, as well as some cities, have sued Purdue, claiming that the opioid epidemic has reduced lifespans and caused massive social and economic damage.

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.

Eventually, Purdue acknowledged that its promotions exaggerated the drug's safety and minimized the risks of addiction. He has yet to declare it a national emergency as he pledged to do in August following a recommendation by a presidential commission.

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