Stopping Corrupt Marketing of Medications

In August 2023, Netflix’s top series is “Painkiller,” exposing corrupt marketing of OxyContin from Purdue Pharma. It is important to stop corrupt marketing of medications.  Real life events inspire the series, shedding light on the tragic consequences, like a mother losing her son.

The docu-drama starts with a gut-wrenching scene. A mother whose son was killed by #OxyContin says “this series is based on real events, but some of it is fictionalized. But the death of my son was not. He was prescribed the drug at age 15 and died at the age of 32, alone. We miss him.”  The series provides clear lessons on why marketing from Purdue Pharma was so corrupt.  This type of marketing must be stopped!

What Was the Purdue Strategy?

Purdue’s marketing focused on healthcare providers, pushing OxyContin as safe. Sales tactics, including incentives for doctors, contributed to over 250K deaths. The AMA had ties to Purdue, raising concerns about overprescribing.  This organization must bear responsibility for these terrible outcomes.

Lessons from Purdue led to stricter regulations on Pharma marketing. The series suggests that Purdue utilized a patient-focused strategy.  However this suggestion is misleading.  DTC marketing was not used for this medication, nor could it have been.  Even in that time.  A relativey small group of doctors have the greatest responsibility for patient manipulation and addiction.

Don’t Overlook The Positive Contributions Made By Pharma Companies

While Purdue’s actions must be condemned, most Pharma companies contribute positively, developing vital medicines. Public opinion fluctuated during COVID, but this series may further impact perceptions. Amid criticism, remember the unsung heroes developing medicines to improve lives.  While we must condemn corrupt marketing of medications, we should also recognize these positive contributions.