According to people familiar with the negotiations, the company that created OxyContin is offering free doses of opioid abuse treatment. OxyContin manufactured by Purdue Pharma is the brand name of oxycodone, an anesthetic used to treat moderate to severe pain. In recent years, the manufacturer has been in litigation, and some have accused it of deliberately misleading doctors to increase the dose, causing safety problems. In May of this year, Texas sued Purdue Pharma, arguing that deceptive marketing fueled the opioid crisis.
It has been reported that these drugs cause more than 100 American deaths every day. In 2017 alone, more than 49,000 people died from overdose of opioids, an increase of nearly 7,000 from last year. The government has accused drugmakers and wholesalers of diluting health risks and the benefits of excess painkillers through marketing campaigns.
Some scholars worry that those who are addicted may not be able to get drugs like this at a free or low cost. Langabeer said they may just turn to another prescription opioid or street drug, such as heroin, which may sometimes be cheaper and more accessible.