From the beginning of Purdue Pharma, the risk of addiction in opioid painkillers was unknown. Now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 115 people die from opioid addiction a day. On February 11, Purdue Pharma announced that they will stop the promotion of opioid drugs to doctors. The question is, will other pharmaceutical companies do the same?
Purdue Pharma was the world’s top selling pharmaceutical company that would bring in millions in sales from opioids. In 1995, the OxyContin pill was a major breakthrough for Purdue Pharma for treating chronic pain. Its effects would work for twelve hours to maintain a steady level of pain relief. Then it was discovered that opioid drugs were being abused as patients would discover its euphoric effects like heroin by crushing the pills and snorting or injecting an entire dose into the body.
In 2007, Purdue Pharma and three executives plead guilty and paid more than $600 million for misleading the risks in opioids. In 2010, OxyContin was made harder to crush and stopped selling the original form of the drug. There were a number of lawsuits such as in Ohio that blamed Purdue Pharma for exaggerating the drug’s safety, overselling the benefits, encouraged overprescribing, and minimized the addictive qualities of the drug. It was announced recently that Purdue Pharma eliminated more than half of their sales staff and have stopped sending sales representatives to doctor’s offices to discuss opioid use. Their remaining staff of two hundred people are focusing more on other medications.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University feels like Purdue Pharma waited too long to come to this conclusion and feels like other pharmaceutical companies need to follow suit. He admits that opioids are useful for cancer patients that are suffering from severe pain and others that need pain medications for a few days. The problem is that too much promotion of these drugs will provide more harm than good. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine feels that Purdue Pharma should be making it up by funding treatment, prevention education, naloxone, and foster care system expansion. In the past, other pharmaceutical companies have decreased their opioid promotions such as Allergan which has not marketed their three opioid medications in years and Janssen Pharmaceuticals stopped marketing opioids in 2015. This can be a major stepping stone in bringing awareness to the dangers of opioid abuse.
Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.