Local Dr., Lawmakers React To OxyContin Maker's Change In Market

Local Dr., Lawmakers React To OxyContin Maker's Change In Marketing

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Dr. Ivan Montalvo is a pain management doctor in Watertown. Dr. Montalvo prescribes prescription opioids to his patients when needed and has had to deal with sales representatives from major pharmaceutical companies for years.

"They were mentioning the advantage of using a long acting product over a short acting product so instead of you giving to the patient let's say eight pills per day, six pills per day, you were giving one or two per day," he said.

One or two very strong pills per day, like OxyContin, a prescription opioid. Now, Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, says it's going to stop promoting the drug to doctors and is cutting its sales force in half. Dr. Montalvo says this move by Purdue Pharma is sending a message.

"That indeed these type of medications, they have abuse, they have potential abuse," said Dr. Montalvo.

Purdue Pharma denies any wrongdoing and says its products account for only 2 percent of opioids prescribed in the nation. Lawsuits have been filed against the pharmaceutical company and others like it. St. Lawrence County is part of one.

"By removing their advertising wing or marketing wing from being engaged with the direct providers of these medicines, they sort of stop the practice that is being complained about," said St. Lawrence County Attorney Stephen Button.

Lewis County is also part of the same lawsuit as St. Lawrence County. Legislature Chair Larry Dolhof said he hopes this doesn't compromise the availability of OxyContin for those who need it.

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