OxyContin’s Maker Is Still Flourishing In China

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Good afternoon, readers.

The opioid addiction crisis that’s killed or otherwise sickened millions of Americans has galvanized significant backlash. Alleged perpetrators range from drug developers to drug distributors to, well, the health care system at large.

For instance—Purdue Pharma, the private firm operated by the Sackler clan and the maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin, was driven to bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S. this year over its alleged false claims and aggressive marketing tactics for the opioid.

But the Associated Press reports that these same tactics are being played out in countries like China via affiliated firms like Mundipharma. That can include claims that, say, OxyContin isn’t quite as addictive as other opioid treatments thanks to its extended-release formula.

We’ll update this post if Purdue or Mundipharma responds to a request for comment.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


FDA approves another RNA drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a second "RNA-i" drug—a treatment for an ultra-rare disease to treat acute hepatic porphyria, which can lead to severe (and deadly) stomach and muscle pain. The drug, Givlaari, is driven by some pretty cool science. It involves silencing certain genetic offenders to combat illness. But it comes with a hefty price tag—the treatment rings in at $575,000 per year on the sticker, without discounts. Alnylam says that would still be cheaper than constant medical treatment for these patients. The company's stock was up more than 10% in Wednesday trading.


President Trump's FDA nominee faces Congress. President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the FDA stared down Congress today—and some of his most notable testimony concerned e-cigarettes and vaping. Dr. Stephen Hahn, an oncologist and chief medical executive of the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center, responded to bipartisan questioning on whether or not the Trump administration would retrench from its stated efforts to ban flavored e-cigarettes as a matter of federal policy. "I understand the final compliance is under consideration by the administration," said Hahn. "I look forward to their decision. I am not privy to those decision making processes, but I very much am in support of aggressive action to protect our children."


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