Purdue Pharma has long been criticized for aggressively marketing opioid painkiller OxyContin, which many believe has lead to the current opioid addiction epidemic. And now it seems the company is looking to get in on profits from treatment, too. Richard Sackler, whose family that owns and operates privately held Purdue Pharma, has been granted a patent for opioid painkiller addiction treatment.
The patent was granted for a novel form of buprenorphine, a mild opiate that controls drug cravings and is offered as a temporary substitute to those addicted to heroin or opioid painkillers, according to the Financial Times. Buprenorphine is manufactured in pill or dissolving strip form and is often better known by brand name Suboxone, which is distributed by British pharmaceutical giant Indivior. In 2017, Suboxone brought Indivior $877 million in U.S. sales.
This isn’t the first time Purdue Pharma has tried to grab market share on opioid addiction treatment. In 2017, Purdue sponsored an app study to see if tracking pain and addiction with an iPhone could lead to better understanding and treatment from physicians.
In February, Purdue Pharma announced it would stop promoting OxyContin to physicians. But the firm remains embattled on several fronts as numerous states have filed lawsuits against the Massachusetts-based company.