A company owned by the Sackler family — widely blamed as one of the major initial drivers of the opioid epidemic — is continuing to rake in sales from overdoses abroad, though a representative said the firm doesn’t profit off those sales.
The Sackler family, most known for its ownership over OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, also owns the international pharmaceutical company Mundipharma. The firm pushes overseas its overdose antidote, a naloxone nasal spray called Nyxoid.
“You’re in the business of selling medicine that causes addiction and overdoses, and now you’re in the business of selling medicine that treats addiction and overdoses?” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, an outspoken Purdue critic, told the Associated Press in 2019. “That’s pretty clever, isn’t it?”
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A Mundipharma spokesperson emphasized that the company isn’t active in the U.S. market.
“Mundipharma distributes Nyxoid to several countries, outside the US,” the spokesperson told Fox News. “It makes no profit from such sales.”
The spokesperson also told Fox News it “is publicly known that our shareholders intend to sell Mundipharma within seven years” of a Purdue bankruptcy plan becoming effective. “We have no further information or details to share at this time about any such sale.”
In 2019, meanwhile, a Mundipharma Europe spokesman told the AP that overdose reversal drugs administered as a nasal spray is important, given the dismal rate of overdose deaths.
“If they were trying to find a solution, they would just distribute naloxone for free,” Stephen Wood, a fellow at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics, told the AP. “They could use all that money they made off opioids to help support a program where they are giving away this life-saving medication.”
Profits from OxyContin helped make the Sacklers one of the richest families in the world. But in recent years, Purdue and its private owners have faced lawsuits accusing them of pursuing an aggressive and deceptive marketing campaign pushing OxyContin prescriptions all while downplaying the drug’s addictiveness.
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