Purdue Pharma’s history of marketing and promoting OxyContin shows what influence money has on our social framework. Offering large bonuses to their expanding sales force, giving physicians free symposiums on pain management, giving out “free” samples of the drug to patients, Purdue ran a well-funded and targeted campaign. Doctors who prescribed opioids the most were contacted and then approached by the sales representatives. The videos and literature given to the physicians were filled with proven false claims. But perhaps the most harmful was targeting non-cancerous patients for pain management. All these actions lead to OxyContin becoming the most abused opioid in the United States in a few, scant years.
One long-term consequence of OcyContin’s marketing campaign is that it gave Big Pharma a “successful” template for a model that can be used for other controlled substances. The FDA has done nothing to change their current guidelines as to the promotion and marketing of drugs, so there is nothing to prevent or change the behavior of the kind of company that had tremendous financial success with OxyContin.