Pain Med Maker Back In the Spotlight As Media Coverage Of “Opiod Crisis” Gets Even Brighter
STAMFORD: The privately owned-Purdue Pharma, maker of the well-known pain medication OxyContin, is currently being sued in the State of New Hampshire for “questionable marketing practices.”
At issue, according to the Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire, is whether Purdue sales persons disseminated “misleading information” to doctors and engaged in “deceptive marketing” about the risk of addiction and whether the drug lasts for a full 12 hours, as stated in the State’s complaint. The State referenced a recent study by the Los Angeles Times that found OxyContin wears off early in many patients and leads to “agonizing withdrawal symptoms.” The drug-maker has contested those findings.
Back in 2007, Purdue paid around $600 million in federal fines after admitting to deceptive marketing practices and misleading doctors and patients about the level of addictiveness of OxyContin.
According to New Hampshire Assistant AG James Boffetti in his complaint filed with the Merrimack County Superior Court, the company’s salespersons “continue to tell New Hampshire prescribers that OxyContin lasts a full 12 hours, fails to disclose end-of-dose failure and its relationship to addiction, and advises doctors who complain about OxyContin’s shorter-than-promised duration to increase patients’ dosage, which further increases the risk of overdose and addiction.”
OxyContin was approved for prescription use by the FDA in 1995 and hit the market in 1996, at which point it was aggressively marketed by Purdue. According to 2002 marketing plans from within the company, sales grew from $48 million in 1996 to almost $1.1 billion in 2000, and currently averaging about $3 billion in profits annually.