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Opioid Giant’s Tactics to Influence Doctors Revealed in Court Documents

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Opioid drug giant Mallinckrodt, selling more than Purdue Pharma in the United States, has been forced by the courts to publish more than 1.3 million internal documents. These reveal a carefully coordinated effort to shape medical attitudes toward pain medicine.
[Source: medicalxpress.com]

[Image source: Adobe Stock]


Court documents have unveiled extensive and strategic efforts by Mallinckrodt, a major opioid drug manufacturer, to influence medical professionals’ attitudes towards pain management. Researchers examined nearly 900 contracts, revealing that the company engaged in recruiting physicians as influencers, placing articles in scientific journals, coordinating conference presentations, and developing continuing medical education (CME) courses. These tactics aimed to downplay addiction concerns, reframing them as irrational fears and promoting the concept of “pseudoaddiction.” Shockingly, Mallinckrodt even promoted opioids as preventive medicine for chronic pain.

Despite facing legal repercussions, including a $1.7 billion settlement for misleading marketing practices, Mallinckrodt remains active in the opioid market, with sales reaching $262 million in 2023. The court documents highlight the company’s persistent and aggressive marketing strategies, including direct exhortations to sales representatives to prioritize sales above all else.

To read how opioid drug use increases a person’s risk of a dangerous type of irregular heartbeat known to cause strokes, see this news story on our website.

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