The first drug derived from marijuana has been approved for sale in the US. Under the brand name Epidiolex, the purified cannabidiol (CBD) substance has shown promise as a treatment for two rare forms of epilepsy. CBD is the compound in marijuana that researchers have identified as what gives the “Devil’s lettuce” its medicinal properties. This shouldn’t be confused with THC which is what gives Cheech & Chong (Warning: language and, obviously, drug use) material for their comedic properties. CBD oil has been touted as a treatment for severe epilepsy in the past few years but having an FDA-approved drug with consistent quality and dosage could give physicians more confidence in prescribing it. The approval also influences enforcement, forcing the US Drug Enforcement Agency to reschedule the drug since it now has an accepted medical use.
Purdue Pharma—which has seen negative press due to lawsuits alleging negligence in its opioid marketing campaigns—has decided the opioid marketing thing isn’t going well. Starting Feb. 12, Purdue’s just gonna stop promoting its opioid products like OxyContin to prescribers. Of course, there are people at Purdue whose job description is “promote opioid products to prescribers,” so if you’re looking for new sales team members, approximately 200 will be looking for a new job soon. It’s a positive move for the opioid manufacturer, which has been trying to recast itself as an ally in the fight against the US opioid epidemic. It’s also a decently jarring reversal from targeting high-volume prescribers with its marketing efforts, so we’ll see how genuinely people will perceive the action.