OxyContin Maker Ends Industry-Changing Strategy

Purdue Pharma will no longer promote the painkiller to doctors
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2018 11:05 AM CST
Maker of OxyContin to Stop a Long-Criticized Practice
A file photo of OxyContin pills.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

The medical website STAT sees it as the "end of an era"—the maker of OxyContin is going to stop promoting the opioid to doctors. As Bloomberg reports, Purdue Pharma is cutting its sales staff in half to 200 employees and will no longer send representatives to doctors' offices. The move comes as Purdue attempts to shift its reputation from being one of the culprits in the opioid epidemic to being one of the companies trying to curtail it. The development also comes as Purdue faces dozens of lawsuits that accuse it of getting Americans hooked on the painkiller with the help of its aggressive marketing.

As STAT observes, Purdue "changed the paradigm" on opioids by being a pioneer in the strategy of sending reps directly to doctors and pitching the pill. Critics seem a little underwhelmed by the latest move. "Overall, the impact will be small because the genie is out of the bottle," Andrew Kolodny of the Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management tells NBC News. "But if other opioid manufacturers would do the same, it would have a bigger effect." (The move follows a major move against OxyContin by a large insurer.)

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