Largest Opioid Seller Attains Patent on Addiction Treatment


The maker of the highly addictive OxyContin opioid painkiller has been granted a patent designed to treat opioid addiction. The patent includes a version of buprenorphine, which helps curb cravings in people addicted to opioid painkillers and/or heroin. Purdue Pharma is the maker of Oxycotin and the Sackler family controls the company. Both parties have been the subject of much controversy as well as lawsuits due to their aggressive marketing. Critics claim the prescription drug's popularity led to the current OxyContin opioid addiction epidemic. Earlier this year, Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against the company, directors, and Sackler family. The lawsuit is a first attempt to hold individuals responsible for the company's marketing strategy.

OxyContin Opioid Maker Gets Exclusive Rights on Treatment Medication

The news of the patent grant has created even more controversy for Purdue Pharma. The patent will grant an exclusive right to the company for the use and sale of the opioid addiction treatment. Since the company stands to profit greatly through the patent, treating addiction that critics claim the company created, the company's true objectives come into question.

Patents protect the owner by preventing third parties from engaging in activities that compete with patent holder's rights in a patent. With a potential effective treatment for the addiction of opioids, Purdue Pharma and owners stand to reap additional wealth on the flip side of the widespread opioid addiction crisis.

Purdue Pharma Vowed to Stop Promoting OxyContin

In the U.S., hundreds of people die daily due to opioid overdoses.  Due to outrage against the company for continued promotion of the OxyContin painkillers, Purdue declared it would stop promoting the drug. Additionally, the company reportedly laid off its sales team.  These actions seem to indicate they are working to help fight the opioid epidemic. In addition, the patent for addiction treatment could be a way for the company to help the crisis. However, critics tend to see the patent as another way for Purdue to achieve monetary gain for treating an issue they helped create.

Meanwhile, the lawsuits against the company and its owners and directors are still looming in the background. And, opposers express outrage at the thought the company will enjoy further benefits from treatment as well as replacement therapy through the patent. It is unclear whether the addiction therapy patent will have any influence in the pending cases against the company. However, it will be interesting to see if and how the new addiction treatment patent affects the current opioid epidemic.

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