November 14th, 2011

The selling of OxyContin

By Tom Blackwell
National Post

It was a pleasant, informative break from the grind for a crowd of local doctors: lunch and a series of lectures at Vancouver’s chic Four Seasons Hotel, all presented free by Purdue Pharma, which had just rolled out a new pain drug called OxyContin.

The specialists Purdue paid to speak at the 1997 forum, including Toronto’s Dr. Brian Goldman, who now hosts a popular CBC-Radio show, encouraged doctors to overcome fear of such “opioid” medicines and consider them even for patients with chronic non-cancer pain.

Similar, Purdue-sponsored talks were held across the country in the following months and years, while sales reps fanned out to visit family doctors and others, promoting the drug’s continuous-release convenience and its supposedly low potential for abuse.

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