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Drug Manufacturers Actually INCREASED Opioid Marketing After Kentucky’s Purdue Pharma Lawsuit

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A new study has found that the U.S. state of Kentucky’s 2007 lawsuit against Purdue Pharma dissuaded only Purdue’s opioid marketing. The promotion of opioids by competing drug companies actually increased.


Purdue Pharma, an American drug company, is seen by many observers as having been largely responsible for the rise of the devastating opioid drug crisis in the United States. After introducing OxyContin, a powerful opioid painkiller, in 1996, the company proceeded to market it aggressively claiming that it was supposedly less addictive, less subject to abuse, and less likely to cause narcotic side effects. Seduced by Purdue Pharma’s deceptive marketing, American doctors subsequently wrote huge numbers of prescriptions for the drug.

Tragically, between 1999 and 2020, around 263,000 Americans are believed to have lost their lives as a result of overdoses related to prescription opioid drugs. Court filings suggest members of the notorious Sackler family, who own Purdue Pharma, directed efforts to mislead doctors and patients about the dangers of OxyContin.

The OxyContin lawsuit filed by the U.S. state of Kentucky in 2007 resulted in Purdue paying a mere $24 million to settle the case. Given the greed-based nature of the pharmaceutical ‘business with disease,’ however, the fact that the case resulted in an increased promotion of opioids by the company’s competitors is anything but surprising. For more than a century now, the drug industry has consistently placed the generation of profit over the protection of human life and health. The devastating opioid drug crisis in the United States is essentially only one of the latest depressing chapters in this ongoing story.

For an easy-to-read summary of the pharma industry’s nefarious business practices, see the popular ‘Laws of the Pharmaceutical Industry’ feature on our website.

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