Purdue Pharma pushed opioids as 'hope in a bottle,' records show

Tennessee's attorney general has filed a lawsuit accusing Purdue Pharma of intentionally fueling the opioid epidemic, using the company's internal records to show it pressured medical providers to prescribe increasingly high doses of oxycodone (OxyContin) for longer periods.

Tennessee's attorney general has filed a lawsuit accusing Purdue Pharma of intentionally fueling the opioid epidemic, using the company's internal records to show it pressured medical providers to prescribe increasingly high doses of oxycodone (OxyContin) for longer periods. The documents reveal a marketing campaign that instructed Purdue's opioid marketers to "sell hope in a bottle" and "always be closing," and specifically targeted Tennessee's most vulnerable medical providers and patients, including older adults and veterans. According to the documents, Purdue called on its sales representatives to target medical providers who were overworked, served poor communities, and had less training, describing them as "high value prescribers" who could be easily persuaded to boost prescriptions and dosages of oxycodone. The alleges these providers prescribed nearly two-thirds of all oxycodone tablets in Tennessee from 2007 to 2017. Purdue Pharma denies the state's allegations and said it shares the concerns about the opioid crisis. The firm's internal documents were obtained by the state Attorney General's office as part of a 2007 lawsuit settlement the state now alleges Purdue violated. The current lawsuit alleges Purdue did nothing to curb the opioid epidemic and even became more aggressive in its marketing schemes.