Purdue Pharma, the Stamford drug manufacturer that created the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin has laid off half of its 400-member sales team and will no longer promote the prescription drug to doctors.
The news, announced with a flurry full-page ads by the drug company in the country’s largest newspapers, according to this report in The Hartford Courant, is part of a corporate campaign by Purdue to preserve the drug’s brand and its own, both of which are being blamed in part for the country’s spiraling opioid crisis. Last week, Westchester County filed a lawsuit against more than 30 opioid manufacturers and distributors, as reported here by Daily Voice.
An ad published in The New York Times begins: “We manufacture prescription opioids. How could we not help fight the prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis?”
Purdue now says its sales representatives will no longer visit doctors’ offices and pain clinics to promote OxyContin, which Purdue began marketing 20 years ago as a safe, quick and powerful solution to pain.
The drug was widely prescribed to patients, leaving many addicted and turning to cheaper drugs such as heroin. The result has been a dramatic rise in deaths in recent years, which has in turn driven down life expectancy rates in the country, according to this report by The Verge. President Trump declared the crisis a public health emergency.
“Our field sales organization will no longer be visiting your offices to engage you in discussions about our opioid products,” a senior Purdue official wrote.Purdue has also cut its sales team by more than half, with the remaining 200 salespeople shifting to promote a drug that treats opioid-induced constipation, a Purdue spokesman said
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