OxyContin maker Purdue cuts sales team, won't market opioids

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OxyContin maker Purdue cuts sales team, won't market opioids

OxyContin has always been the world's top-selling opioid painkiller, bringing in billions in sales for the privately-held company.

Opioids killed more than 42,000 people in 2016 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 40 percent of those deaths involved a prescription opioid. The remaining 200 sales reps will focus on non-opioid drugs such as Symproic, the company said.

The pharmaceutical company that produces the painkiller OxyContin is slashing its sales staff and says it will halt, effective Monday, promotion of opioids to physicians and other health care professionals. Doctors with questions about opioids will be directed to the company's medical affairs department. "Millions of Americans are now opioid-addicted because the campaign that Purdue and other opioid manufacturers used to increase prescribing worked well".

This announcement is coming after widespread criticism of the ways drug-makers market addictive painkillers.

The boom in OxyContin prescriptions, and the resulting expansion of the deadly abuse of opioids, has been consistently blamed on Purdue's aggressive and misleading marketing of the drug.

"Overall, the impact will be small because the genie is out of the bottle", Kolodny said.

In 2007, Purdue Pharma and three of its executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges of misrepresenting their product's addictiveness, and paid a total of $635 million in fines.

Purdue said in a statement that it is reducing its sales force by more than 50%. Users, however, later learned that they could be heroin-like high from the drug by crushing the pills or by injecting or snorting them. Purdue also stopped selling the original form of the drug. The company was found to have overstated how long the effects of the medication lasted and severely downplayed the addiction risks of the drug.

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

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