Purdue Pharma to stop marketing opioids to U.S. physicians, but policy not extended to Canada

published on February 11, 2018 by Andrea Woo in The Globe and Mail

The pharmaceutical giant that misled physicians and patients about the addictive properties of its top-selling drug OxyContin, fuelling an overdose crisis that has devastated communities across North America, will stop marketing opioids to U.S. physicians.

However, the new policy does not extend into Canada.

Purdue Pharma L.P. announced the change in a statement issued on the weekend.

 “We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers,” the Stamford, Conn.-based company said. It added that the roughly 200 sales representatives remaining – about half of its sales force – will focus on marketing non-opioid products.

The company has sent notices to U.S. health-care providers saying its sales representatives will “no longer be visiting your office to engage you in discussions about our opioid products” effective Monday.

 The change does not extend into Canada, where Purdue Pharma (Canada) operates independently. Representatives for Purdue both in Canada and the U.S. did not respond to interview requests on Sunday.

Keith Ahamad, an addictions physician and a clinician researcher with the BC Centre on Substance Use, said it’s too late for the new directive to have any meaningful impact.

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