It is no surprise that this country is experiencing an opioid epidemic. One of the most widely abused opioids in the United States, OxyContin, is made by a drug company called Purdue Pharma. Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin back in the mid-’90s and since 1999, over 450,000 people have lost their lives due to overdose from opioids.
What is Oxycontin?
OxyContin (Oxycodone ER) is a highly addictive pain medication that is used to treat severe pain. The indications for OxyContin are for pain that is severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment, in which alternative options are inadequate. This medication was never meant to be prescribed for short-term pain relief, and it was so heavily marketed by Purdue, that it was being overly prescribed for all different types of pain issues.
An article published by the American Journal of Public Health explains how this epidemic started.
CONTROLLED DRUGS, WITH their potential for abuse and diversion, can pose public health risks that are different from—and more problematic than—those of uncontrolled drugs when they are overpromoted and highly prescribed. An in-depth analysis of the promotion and marketing of OxyContin (Purdue Pharma, Stamford, CT), a sustained-release oxycodone preparation, illustrates some of the key issues. When Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in 1996, it was aggressively marketed and highly promoted. Sales grew from $48 million in 1996 to almost $1.1 billion in 2000. The high availability of OxyContin correlated with increased abuse, diversion, and addiction, and by 2004 OxyContin had become a leading drug of abuse in the United States. (NIH)
How is Purdue Pharma Involved With Opioid Crisis?
The FBI and DEA started an investigation on Purdue Pharma and discovered that they were paying doctors to write more prescriptions for this powerful opioid. The United States has anti-kickback laws that are supposed to prevent doctors from receiving the money to write and prescribe patients certain medications, and Purdue Pharma violated these laws.
Purdue Pharma also heavily marketed OxyContin to thousands of Healthcare Providers.
From 1996 to 2001, Purdue conducted more than 40 national pain-management and speaker-training conferences at resorts in Florida, Arizona, and California. More than 5000 physicians, pharmacists, and nurses attended these all-expenses-paid symposia, where they were recruited and trained for Purdue’s national speaker bureau. It is well documented that this type of pharmaceutical company symposium influences physicians’ prescribing, even though the physicians who attend such symposia believe that such enticements do not alter their prescribing patterns. (NIH)
Purdue Pharma has pled guilty to three federal criminal charges and has been fined 8 billion dollars. The former owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family, were also fined 225 million dollars by the Justice Department in a separate settlement. Also, it is a huge possibility that charges will be brought to the former owners and employees.
Purdue Pharma Guilty of Federal Charges Related to Oxycontin
In 2019, Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy, so it is unlikely they will be able to pay all of these fines. Money that is received will go to help opioid treatment and abatement programs. The company will be closed and any assets will be used to benefit the American public. Any future earnings will go towards the fines which in turn will be used to combat the opioid crisis.
The new company will continue to make OxyContin because there is a legitimate need for the drug. They will also make overdose rescue drugs along with medically assisted treatment medications that will be available at huge discounts.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. At Agape Treatment Center, we follow an evidence-based approach to treating substance abuse. We provide mental health services and multiple levels of care to get you on the road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Give us a call today.