Perdue Pharma makes Oxycontin, one of the most addictive prescription opioid drugs on the market. They’re a subject of many lawsuits and have been under Congressional investigation for their activities promoting opioid medications to doctors and other medical professionals. Many people say their company has made hundreds of millions of dollars fueling the addiction epidemic. However, the company has now started to dig into a new way to make money from the opioid epidemic. They’ve been quietly working to patent a new form of buprenorphine, a drug that is regularly used to help people get off of opioids.
What is Perdue’s New Addiction Medication?
In the recovery community, buprenorphine better known as a medication-assisted treatment when people take these drugs to stay clean. Perdue’s version is a “fast-acting” form of buprenorphine, which helps control drug cravings, according to CBS reported. While other versions of the drug are available in either tablet or dissolving strips, the Purdue version comes in a “wafer” that dissolves in only a few seconds.
More PR Efforts?
Richard Sackler, a member of Purdue’s board, is listed as one of the inventors on the new drug. The Sackler family, known for their philanthropy in the art world, controls Purdue Pharma and have made hundreds of millions of dollars off of Oxycontin and other opioids.
In the past few years, while Perdue has been mired in lawsuits, the company has also been trying to salvage their name/brand. They have offered grants to various state drug treatment programs. Last week, Purdue donated $3.4 million to the developer of an over-the-counter version of naloxone, an opioid-antagonist meant to reverse fatal overdoses. And the release of buprenorphine they are developing will be offered for free to some drug treatment programs for indigent clients.
The Bottom Line
Perdue Pharma is fighting over 1000 lawsuits across the US. They’re under heavy scrutiny and continue to be investigated by news organizations. They’ve often lead heavy-handed PR efforts and efforts to obfuscate their efforts to push more narcotic prescriptions. While the Sackler-owned Perdue has promised to stop marketing opioids to doctors, they’ve remained silent on a second opioid manufacturing company they own – making no promises about generics at all.
In the end, it’s about the bottom line. They will do what it takes to remain profitable, it seems. Hopefully, doctors will recognize the hypocrisy and choose a different version of buprenorphine for their clients.