Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma will stop promoting opioids to physicians

Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma will stop promoting opioids to physicians

Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma will stop promoting opioids to physicians

Medical professionals say a shift in the 1990s to "institutionalize" pain management opened the doors for pharmaceutical companies to encourage the mass prescribing of painkillers by doctors, and Purdue Pharma led that effort. When regulators and lawmakers finally cracked down on growing prescription drug abuse, millions already addicted began turning to cheaper heroin.

Prescription opioid giant Purdue Pharma will stop promoting its opioid drugs to doctors, a retreat after years of criticism that the company's aggressive sales efforts helped lay the foundation for the US addiction crisis.

He said Purdue's decision is helpful, but it won't make a major difference unless other opioid drug companies do the same.

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"It is hard to promote more cautious prescribing to the medical community because opioid manufacturers promote opioid use", he said. Instead, any questions doctors have will be directed to the Stamford, Conn. -based company's medical affairs department. Symproic is used to treat opioid-related constipation.

Purdue "vigorously denies" any misconduct, saying it has consistently followed the CDC's opioid guidelines including not recommending opioids as a first option. Purdue for years made the case that OxyContin was less addictive than other opioid painkillers, and that the risks of opioid addiction in general were overblown - claims partly rooted in a decades-old anecdotal letter rather than scientific research. Opioid litigation increased sharply in 2017 when hundreds of cities, counties and states sued opioid makers, wholesalers, distributors and marketers. Opioids also have been blamed for a resurgence in heroin use. "How could we not help fight the prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis?"

Opioids are substances that work on the nervous system in the body or specific receptors in the brain to reduce the intensity of pain.

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More than 60,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S.in 2016, overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids rose to about 20,000 in 2016 compared with 3,105 in 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Purdue and three former executives pleaded guilty in federal court a decade ago to criminal charges of misleading the public about the addictive nature of OxyContin, paying more than $630 million in fines and penalties.

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