Purdue Pharma Giving Out Coupons for Oxycontin
Why on Earth would Purdue Pharma, in the midst of the worst drug epidemic ever seen, think it was a good idea to continue to try and boost its sales of Oxycontin? Not only was the mass-marketing of Oxycontin one of the very things that started this whole mess, but it became the very drug that acted as the bridge to heroin addiction. Since the opioid epidemic started, its gotten worse, and worse, and worse, with no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. And just when things got bad enough, Purdue Pharma created a co-pay savings program to allow more patients to have access to their drugs. Recently in Boston, Governor Charlie Baker barred the use of these co-pay coupons after signing a bill last Tuesday.
Governor Baker definitely made a good decision in signing that anti-opioid bill. It’s completely inappropriate for Purdue to create a savings program for opioids given the current state of affairs. Making drugs like Oxycontin more easily attainable, the more the drug will wind up diverted onto city streets and sold for a handsome profit. The going “street-dealer” rate for an 80mg Oxycontin pill is $80. That’s right, $1 per milligram. And when your habit gets too big and your money runs out, times get desperate, and you might wind up on heroin. It’s going to be the same series of events from the early 2000’s all over again, just in a new unit of time. Maura Healey, Massachusetts State Attorney said
“The use of coupons as a marketing tool for opioids is inappropriate and deadly. I am grateful to the Legislature for passing a comprehensive opioid bill that includes this key provision and thank the governor for signing it into law.”
State Attorney Healey brought suit against the drug maker this year for their misleading and unethical marketing practices geared towards getting more “customers” onto their medications. A state investigation showed that Purdue makes $4.28 for every $1 the company gives away in coupons. The investigation also found that more patients remain on narcotic painkillers for more than 90 days when using their coupons.
I don’t think I have words for this. I don’t know how anyone thought this was a good idea for anything other than making money at the expense of public health and safety. There’s not one thing I can think of to justify any of this. So many of us are working tirelessly to unwind this whole opioid problem, to save addicts from their own demise, to piece families back together, and to not let anyone become a completely unnecessary statistic. It just adds insult to injury and doesn’t make our jobs any easier. So many of us have dedicated our lives to helping others, as we were once helped, and the last thing any of us want to see, and I believe I can speak on behalf of nearly everyone in the drug rehabilitation field, is anything that’s going to make a terrible problem even worse. And while I can yell and scream and jump up and down, in my opinion, I don’t believe that Purdue Pharma has any interest in ending the opioid crisis.