We’re back with another investigation on OxyContin. Ask us anything.
OxyContin is a dying business in America. With the country dealing with an opioid epidemic, the medical establishment is turning away from painkillers. So the company’s owners, the Sackler family, pursued a new strategy: Get the painkiller that is widely blamed for setting off the U.S. opioid crisis into medicine cabinets around the world.
A network of family-owned companies are pouring money into operations in the developing world and other countries less familiar with opioids: Brazil; China; Colombia; Spain; South Korea. They’re using some of the same techniques that made OxyContin a pharmaceutical blockbuster in the U.S. Training seminars that tell doctors to overcome “opiophobia.” Awareness campaigns to reframe common conditions like migraines as things that deserve opioid painkillers. A discount program to make pills more affordable.
Promotional videos for the international companies feature smiling families and suggest they see OxyContin’s U.S. success – more than $34 billion in sales – as merely a beginning.
“We’re only just getting started,” the videos declare.
This is the third installment of our investigation into OxyContin. Join us on Reddit with any questions you might have.
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