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Oxycontin Makers Sink Claws Into China

A report has come out detailing the marketing moves that Purdue Pharma, the drugmaker responsible for Oxycontin and other variations of opioid, has moved on to China. Of course, it’s no big secret that companies like food and pharmaceutical makers take their wares overseas to new markets.

What’s unusual about Purdue’s business moves is that the behavior that cost billions of dollars in US lawsuits is now being deployed in China.

Boosting Sales and Breaking Laws in China

Stat News claims that when sales began to crash due to the opioid crisis, the Sacklers and their subsidiaries set their eyes on the global market. In China, Purdue’s international pharma dealer, Mundipharma, pushed for profits over ethics without fail. While the profit scheme unraveled very publicly in the US courts, quietly, Purdue Pharma began marketing elsewhere.

Current and former employees told the Associated Press about the stunts they pulled to sell more Oxycontin and other drugs. The reps described how managers tried to boost profits by prying into the patient’s medical records without permission. (This is illegal in China as well as the United States. due to privacy laws) These same representatives also claim that they “sometimes disguised themselves as medical staff, putting on white doctor’s coats and lying about their identity to visit patients in the hospital.”

Similar Bad Tactics

In the United States, Purdue assured doctors of the drug’s safety and efficacy, downplaying the possibility of addiction. Yet thousands of people die every year in the US from addiction to Oxy and other opioids. (Marketing materials in China ignore the addiction epidemic in the US entirely, instead of making claims from company-funded studies that have been debunked as propaganda.)

Once the AP report was published, Mundipharma said it was taking immediate action to investigate the incidents listed in the AP report. In a statement, the company said it is working hard “to ensure that our medicines are marketed responsibly and in accordance with China’s strict regulatory framework governing analgesics.”