This article contains discussions of the Opioid Crisis.
- OxyContin is still being legally prescribed today, contributing to the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States. The CDC reported a national average of 43.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Americans in 2020.
- Purdue Pharma stopped marketing OxyContin directly to doctors in 2018 due to lawsuits. They are now pushing for bankruptcy, which would include up to $6 billion in settlement money but prevent victims and family members from taking action against the Sackler family.
- Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy plan involves transferring everything to Knoa Pharmacy, a new company that will continue producing medications, including opioids. They claim to provide opioid addiction treatments and overdose reversal medications at no profit, but victims deserve an opportunity for justice.
After the horrors depicted in Netflix’s Painkiller, many viewers want to know what happened to the Purdue Pharma drug OxyContin. Painkiller is a dramatized series that tells the rise and fall of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family. Characters of Painkiller include fictional versions of pharmaceutical reps, Purdue executives, and investigators. But most devastatingly, throughout the show, narratives of victims show the firsthand damage caused to families by OxyContin and the eventual Opioid Crisis.
According to The Controlled Substances Act classification system, OxyContin is a Schedule II narcotic, which makes it highly addictive with some indicated medical uses. Unfortunately, as seen in Painkiller, the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma mass-marketed the product as the safest opioid available. Additionally, they lied about the risks caused by the medication, encouraging former FDA agent Curtis Wright to approve the drug. Since the events at the end of Painkiller, many changes have occurred with Purdue Pharma while other things sadly remain the same.
OxyContin Is Still Being Legally Prescribed Today
Despite the ongoing opioid crisis depicted throughout Painkiller, OxyContin is still on the market today. It significantly contributes to the problem of the ongoing opioid crisis. In fact, in 2020, the CDC reported a national average of 43.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Americans. Some counties in the U.S. reached nine times this amount of prescriptions. This is much lower than in previous years, but 3.6 percent of counties still had enough prescriptions for every citizen. Though these CDC statistics aren’t specific to OxyContin alone, it helps paint a picture of the problems that Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family allegedly helped create, as depicted in the Painkiller TV show.
Purdue Stopped Marketing OxyContin Directly To Doctors In 2018
Many people wonder what happened after the events of Painkiller. Due to multiple lawsuits, in 2018, Purdue Pharma stopped marketing OxyContin directly to doctors’ offices, a solution that is good but came far too late (via PBS). Since then, they’ve pushed for bankruptcy, which would include up to $6 billion in settlement money according to CNN. However, it would also prevent victims and family members from seeking any action against the Sackler family. As of August 2023, the Supreme Court has halted the bankruptcy process with the intent to hear arguments in December 2023.
Under the bankruptcy plan provided on Purdue Pharma‘s website, they will transfer everything to Knoa Pharmacy, a new company that will continue producing medications, including opioids. This company will function under independent board members. Most importantly, they will research and provide opioid addiction treatments and overdose reversal medications at no profit. If the plan is approved by the court, Knoa Pharma will have zero affiliation with the Sacklers. While this plan seems promising in some ways, it’s dubious in others. Every victim who appeared in Painkiller and the millions of others not highlighted deserve an opportunity for justice.