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.
If you don’t get that reference, you’re doing TV / life wrong. A report from The Globe and Mail states that Canada’s federal government is considering action against U.S.-based Purdue Pharma over “potentially illegal activities in the marketing of OxyContin in Canada.” InsightCity covered instances of U.S. states going after Purdue (see Ohio and Washington), but a neighboring country’s federal government getting involved means the trouble is far from over. In 2007, Purdue paid out $634.5 million in the U.S. to settle similar charges, and the Canadian government wants a similar outcome for their opioid crisis dating back 21 years. As in Westeros, there’s a situation brewing with the neighbors in The North. New episode of Thrones this Sunday at 9pm…HBO, give me free stuff.
Unfortunately, it’s not a joke. According to CBS News, the city of Everett, Washington is suing Purdue Pharma, maker of the medication OxyContin, for gross negligence and nuisance. The lawsuit, currently in a federal court in Seattle, claims Purdue was “supplying OxyContin to obviously suspicious pharmacies and physicians and enabling the illegal diversion of OxyContin into the black market,” and claims this is responsible for the city’s heroin crisis. Purdue has responded saying they are “deeply troubled by the abuse and misuse of our medication,” and “we look forward to presenting the facts in court.” If the case gets traction, look for other cities and states to take similar action – or for the sake of weak puns, follow suit.