OxyContin maker will stop marketing opioid products to doctors amid scrutiny

OxyContin maker will stop marketing opioid products to doctors amid scrutiny
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The maker of the painkiller OxyContin will stop actively marketing its opioid products to doctors. 

Purdue Pharmaceuticals announced that it would cut its sales staff by more than half and would stop sending sales representatives to doctor's offices to discuss opioid products.

"We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers," the company said in a statement.

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Purdue also said it will start referring opioid-related requests and questions from prescribers to health-care professionals in its medical affairs department. 

In a message to health-care professionals, Monica Kwarcinski, the head of Purdue's medical affairs department, said that the new policies would go into effect on Monday.

"Effective Monday, February 12, 2018, our field sales organization will no longer be visiting your offices to engage you in discussions about our opioid products," she said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGingrich: Trump ‘mishandled’ Rosenstein memo on Comey Trump to gift Macron framed upholstery: report Former presidents, first ladies come together to honor Barbara Bush MORE declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency in October. 

Many experts have placed blame on the over-prescription of powerful painkillers for the opioid epidemic that has ravaged the country in recent decades.

A number of states have filed lawsuits against Purdue, alleging that the company misled prescribers and patients about the risks of prescription opioids.

Purdue has denied the allegations, noting that its products are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and that they account for only a small portion of all opioid prescriptions.