OxyContin is a drug that we have all probably heard of at one time or another. It is the brand name of oxycodone which is a painkiller. This is one of the most prescribed painkillers out there to help treat people with pain. It is derived from opium which comes from the poppy plant, and so is the illegal street drug heroin.
This drug is quite a popular choice for doctors to prescribe because it has a timed release format. It can give pain relief for up to 12 hours after the initial dose which makes it very desirable.
A huge problem with OxyContin is that is abused. People crush up the drug so that they don’t have to deal with its time-release structure and then mix it with water and inject it to get high because it is so potent. People also tend just to take it in multiple doses because they can get along high from the time release of it.
Eventually, OxyContin redid their formula so that when mixed with liquid it turned into a gel that made it harder to inject. This was to help prevent the abuse of it, but sadly it is a drug still being highly abused.
It should be a surprise that despite all this OxyContin is still marketed pretty strongly. What isn’t a surprise is that Purdue Pharma, the company that creates it, is getting sued because of this strong marketing. They actually reached a $270 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma over this.
The state felt that Purdue Pharma used the opioid crisis to help promote its drug and then contributed to the overall effects and harm done by it by continuing to market so aggressively.
Out of more than 3000 people in Oklahoma who had to be hospitalized for a non-fatal overdose, 80 percent of them were involved with a pain medication like OxyContin, if not specifically.
The money is going to a bunch of good causes to help fight the opioid epidemic overall in the state of Oklahoma. Of course, nothing will ever be enough when it comes to drug abuse. Treating addiction is the best way to get help and that I what the money will do but as long as these drugs are prescribed and given out they will keep leading to addictions that can threaten the well-being and safety of the populace.
The settlement was agreed upon even though it is so large to avoid a trial. A trial would have really stretched Purdue Pharma who was facing bankruptcy. It also would have brought a lot of bad media and attention that they didn’t need when already facing so many potential issues.
Hopefully, this will be the first step in big pharma taking responsibility for their part in the addiction epidemic and being sure to do what they can to help instead of ultimately making it all worse.