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OxyContin maker cuts sales staff, won’t hawk drug to docs

The decision by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to stop encouraging physicians to write the painkiller's scripts is drawing positive reviews from opioid experts who caution that far more work must be done to crush the killer epidemic.

Purdue said it is slashing its sales staff and will halt, effective Monday, promoting the drug to health care professionals. The decision comes as the industry battles an avalanche of lawsuits across the nation related to an epidemic of opioid abuse.

Indra Cidambi, medical director at the Center for Network Therapy detox program in New Jersey and a nationally recognized authority on opioid abuse, said she was encouraged by Purdue's announcement. But she warned that tightening the prescription supply already has illegal drug dealers turning out more pills that look like branded prescription meds but can be even more dangerous.
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