Oxycontin Maker Purdue Starts Oxycontin Claim Ad Campaign
Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma started an ad campaign on Monday letting consumers harmed by the drug know that they can file claims against the company.
The $23.8 million ad campaign is part of a larger, overall bankruptcy process of Purdue’s. Purdue hopes to resolve around 3,000 lawsuits related to Oxycontin and other opioid medications manufactured by the company.
The campaign was formulated with help from a creditor committee and others, and was approved by a bankruptcy judge. It is normal for companies in bankruptcy proceedings to notify those who may be eligible for claims against them.
Purdue has proposed a settlement which may end up being worth over $10 billion, including a contribution of at least $3 billion from members of the Sackler family, who own Purdue Pharma.
Many states oppose the settlement, saying it’s not enough for creating an opioid epidemic which has killed over 430,000 Americans in the last twenty years.
The ad campaign will include online, magazine, TV, radio, newspaper, movie theater, billboard and other ads, eventually reaching 95% of U.S. adults, who will be exposed to the ads an average of six times.
Purdue is currently facing numerous lawsuits which accuse them of illegally marketing Oxycontin as less addictive than it really was.
Dr. Richard Sackler, a member of Purdue’s controlling and founding family, and ex-Purdue CEO Micheal Friedman were shown by court documents to be discussing how doctors possessed a false impression that Oxycontin was weaker than Morphine. The two discussed how correcting this impression would be bad for sales of the drug.
“It would be extremely dangerous at this early stage in the life of the product to make physicians think the drug is stronger or equal to morphine… We are well aware of the view held by many physicians that oxycodone is weaker than morphine. I do not plan to do anything about that,” Friedman said to Sackler.
“I agree with you,” Sackler said back.
Sackler was also shown by court documents to seek blaming opioid addicts for their addictions.
“We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible,” Sackler wrote. “They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”
Purdue pleaded guilty in 2007 in federal court to understating the addiction risk of Oxycontin. Purdue admitted to failing to notify doctors that Oxycontin was stronger than morphine in the plea. The document detailing the plea says Purdue’s practices led to a 400% increase in oxycodone-related deaths from 1996 to 2001.