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Purdue Pharma to stop marketing opioids to docs

February 10. 2018 9:21PM
A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D. at a local pharmacy, in Provo, Utah. (REUTERS/George Frey/File Photo)

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP said Saturday it has cut its sales force in half and will stop promoting opioids to physicians, following widespread criticism of the ways that drugmakers market addictive painkillers.

The drugmaker said it will inform doctors on Monday that its sales representatives will no longer be visiting physician offices to discuss its opioid products, Purdue said.

"We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers," the Stamford, Conn.-based company said in a statement.

New Hampshire is one of 14 states that sued privately-held Purdue, charging its deceptive marketing of opioids led to many people getting hooked on the drugs.

Opioids were involved in more than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Purdue has denied the allegations in all of these lawsuits. It has said its drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and account for only 2 percent of all opioid prescriptions.

Last month, a federal judge agreed to move New Hampshire's lawsuit back to a state court.

Union Leader staff reporter Kevin Landrigan contributed to this report.

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