OxyContin Files

After some phys­i­cians began pre­scrib­ing Oxy­Con­tin more fre­quently than every 12 hours, Purdue summoned its sales force to spe­cial sem­inars. As this 2001 present­a­tion shows, com­pany of­fi­cials were con­cerned more fre­quent dos­ing would hurt busi­ness.

In a 2002 fed­er­al suit, Alabama busi­ness­man H. Jerry Bod­ie ac­cused Purdue of over­stat­ing the dur­a­tion of Oxy­Con­tin, among oth­er com­plaints. The law­suit was dis­missed.

In a 2004 pe­ti­tion to the FDA, Con­necti­c­ut pro­sec­utors de­scribed the alarm in­side Purdue when some doc­tors began pre­scrib­ing Oxy­Con­tin at more fre­quent in­ter­vals. “These num­bers are very scary,” sales reps were told.

In this 1996 memo en­titled “It’s Bo­nus Time in the Neigh­bor­hood,” a Purdue sales man­ager told her staff to talk up stronger doses of Oxy­Con­tin in con­ver­sa­tions with doc­tors.

At a 1995 meet­ing, Purdue ex­ec­ut­ives de­scribed how Oxy­Con­tin could “cure” the “vul­ner­ab­il­ity” of gen­er­ic com­pet­i­tion and laid out how they planned to mar­ket the drug.

Ap­ply­ing for a pat­ent in 1992, Purdue said Oxy­Con­tin con­trolled pain for 12 hours “in ap­prox­im­ately 90% of pa­tients.”

When Purdue un­veiled Oxy­Con­tin in 1996, it touted 12-hour dur­a­tion.

A Mem­ph­is doc­tor test­ing Oxy­Con­tin in 1995 al­lowed half his pa­tients to take the drug three times a day, prompt­ing a re­com­mend­a­tion from Purdue’s med­ic­al dir­ect­or to pre­scribe the drug for 12-hour dos­ing.

In a 2004 let­ter to the FDA, Purdue law­yers said the com­pany planned to con­tin­ue pro­mot­ing Oxy­Con­tin to doc­tors as a 12-hour drug for sev­er­al reas­ons, in­clud­ing “com­pet­it­ive ad­vant­age.”

In this 1990 memo, Robert Kaiko, the sci­en­ti­est who would go on to help in­vent Oxy­Con­tin, ex­plains why Purdue needs an­oth­er paink­iller.

In this 1996 let­ter, a Purdue re­gion­al man­ager writes that he is con­cerned about doc­tors pre­scrib­ing Oxy­Con­tin at 8-hour in­ter­vals. Sales reps should vis­it those phys­i­cians and con­vince them to go back to 12-hour dos­ing, he writes.

In a 2004 de­cision, a West Vir­gin­ia judge ruled that Plaintiffs’ shows Purdue “could have tested the safety and ef­fic­acy of Oxy­con­tin at eight hours, and could have amended their la­bel, but did not.” Purdue settled the case be­fore tri­al, agree­ing to pay the state $10 mil­lion.