Prescription drug abuse has become a widespread and serious issue. Purdue Pharma, the maker of the often abused painkiller OxyContin, claims that this is a result of pharmacy robberies, doctor-shopping, and medicine cabinet raids. A story in the LA Times reveals that the company has known of the role physicians play in overprescribing and has a database of the suspected doctors. But the company has not disclosed this information to authorities.
Purdue generated a database of about 1,800 doctors that it suspects may be unethically and illegally overprescribing OxyContin to addicts and dealers. The company’s legal department began investigating offices that seem like possible offenders in 2002. Purdue claims that this information is used to steer sales representatives away from risky or suspicious doctors.
While Purdue states that policing physicians is not its responsibility, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services claims the company is withholding valuable leads. He stated, “Any drug company that has information about physicians potentially engaged in illegal prescribing or prescribing that is endangering people’s lives has a responsibility to report it.”
The company attorney has notified law enforcement of 154 of the prescribers. Authorities are requesting more disclosure as this only represents about 8% of the total database. While Purdue reportedly gave varying explanations for the limited disclosures, a Stanford University professor and former drug policy advisor to Obama notes that these doctors generate a lot of revenue for the company, and the timing of reports is noteworthy because there may be a market advantage to Purdue to start reporting now that generic versions of OxyContin are entering the market.
You should consult a medical professional before making any changes to your medical treatment. If you or a loved one suffered and injury as a result of improper drug prescribing or medical malpractice, you should contact a Lopez McHugh attorney for a free consultation.