The Milwaukee Post

September 26, 2014

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By JESSICA MCBRIDE Special to The Post Physicians were plied with plush toys, fishing hats, and CDs with songs like "Get in the Swing with OxyContin." They were flown to Sun Belt resorts for national pain management and speaker con- ferences, the tab picked up by Purdue Pharma, the Connecticut company that had just introduced a powerful new opioid pill on the market named OxyContin. In the five years after the drug's launch in 1995, Purdue held 40 conferences and paid for 5,000 physicians, pharmacists and nurses to go, according to a journal article by physi- cian Art Van Zee. The message: Forget fears about prescribing opioids to a more general pain population. This isn't heroin. This pill has a unique time-release mechanism that means it's not very addictive at all. OxyContin sales grew from $48 million to $1.1 billion in those years. Pharmaceutical companies — not just Purdue — spend billions each year on pro- motion (OxyContin is far from the only opi- oid on the market — there are also Vicodin, methadone, and fentanyl, for starters.) But Purdue took marketing to new levels. The problem is, it wasn't all true. "It was devious. It was ruthless. It was just a big lie," says Peter Jackson, whose daughter, Emily, 18, died after ingesting OxyContin prescribed for an uncle who had passed away of cancer. He now runs a national advocacy group against prescrip- tion opioids. "They were systematically lying to doc- tors for many years, coming up with bogus graphs and all kinds of things," said Jackson. "The track record of sales for DID YOU KNOW? Local news at your fingertips Visit MARK BELLING Why Burke had to steal jobs plan Page 9 Burke's ideas too toxic for Wisconsin • The nail of our middle finger grows the fastest and the nail of our thumb grows slowest. • It is possible for a fetus in the womb to get hiccups. – Source: Cool Facts app GUEST HOUSE BREAKS GROUND ON ADDITION — PAGE 15 STEVE 'THE HOMER' TRUE Rodgers not worried about 1-2 start Page 11 Third straight game offense underwhelming Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Fishing hats and CDs: How Big Pharma marketed a new drug MILWAUKEE COUNTY'S WEEKLY NEWSPAPER SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 Analgesic qualities were focus, not possible addiction See HEROIN on Page 6 Third in a series Zimmermann's Service 360 E. Howard Ave. 414-744-9868 With coupon. Expires 10/10/14. BRAKES most cars $ 89 95 per axle.

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