Under siege for promoting opioids, Purdue Pharma now backs efforts to fight the epidemic

Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of oxycodone HCl (OxyContin), is recasting itself as a key player in the response to the opioid epidemic after years of aggressively advertising its drug as a safe and effective way to fight pain.

Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of oxycodone HCl (OxyContin), is recasting itself as a key player in the response to the opioid epidemic after years of aggressively advertising its drug as a safe and effective way to fight pain. These efforts—which include naloxone programs for officers, funding for medication disposal boxes, and advertisements warning of the dangers of opioid abuse—come amid hundreds of lawsuits claiming that Purdue fueled the opioid crisis by deceptively marketing oxycodone HCl as well as new government efforts to regulate opioids. Purdue also recently announced it would stop marketing its opioids to doctors and that it is working to partner with other companies and expand its portfolio into areas such as oncology and sleep medicine. However, Mike Moore—a former attorney general of Mississippi who is currently consulting on several major cases against Purdue—called the ads and donations a tactic to avoid paying more later, and he said any global settlement with opioid manufacturers would have to be at least $100 billion to seriously address the opioid epidemic. Critics also note that Purdue continues to promote prescribing of opioids, and its efforts have not included methods that would significantly reduce sales of oxycodone HCl.