With the nation in the grip of an opioid epidemic that has claimed more than 200,000 lives, the U.S. medical establishment is turning away from painkillers. Top health officials are discouraging primary care doctors from prescribing them for chronic pain, saying there is no proof they work long-term and substantial evidence they put patients at risk.
Prescriptions for OxyContin have fallen nearly 40% since 2010, meaning billions in lost revenue for its Connecticut manufacturer, Purdue Pharma.
So the company’s owners, the Sackler family, are pursuing a new strategy: Put the painkiller that set off the U.S. opioid crisis into medicine cabinets around the world.
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