Purdue Affiliate Accused of Selling 'Deeply Cynical' Drug

Or is Mundipharma selling a much-needed cure?
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 15, 2019 2:45 PM CST
Purdue Affiliate Now Sells Drug to Treat Opioid Overdoses
This undated image provided by Dr. Andrew Kolodny shows Purdue Pharma’s international affiliate, Mundipharma, promoting Nyxoid, a new brand of opioid overdose reversal medication, at a medical conference in Italy.   (Andrew Kolodny via AP)

As Purdue Pharma buckles under a mountain of litigation and public protest in the United States, its foreign affiliate, Mundipharma, has expanded abroad, using some of the same tactics to sell the addictive opioids that made its owners, the Sackler family, among the richest in the world. Mundipharma is also pushing another strategy globally: From Europe to Australia, it is working to dominate the market for opioid overdose treatment, the AP reports. "The way that they’ve pushed their opioids initially and now coming up with the expensive kind of antidote—it's something that just strikes me as deeply, deeply cynical," says Ross Bell, executive director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation. "You've got families devastated by this, and a company who sees dollar signs flashing."

Mundipharma's antidote, a naloxone nasal spray called Nyxoid, was recently approved in New Zealand, Europe, and Australia. Mundipharma defended it as a tool to help those whose lives are at risk, and even experts who criticize the company say opioid-overdose antidotes are badly needed. Lawsuits filed against Purdue and the family allege they have long considered selling opioids and an opioid treatment as an "end-to-end provider." The alleged plan fizzled in the US, but half a world away, in Australia, Mundipharma embarked on an effort to promote naloxone that was sweeping and effective. Purdue and Mundipharma deny there's any organized plan, while critics accuse them of creating a drug epidemic and trying to profit from a drug to treat it. Click for the AP's full feature article. (More opioids stories.)

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