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Purdue's OxyContin: A Blessing and a Curse

Executive Summary

Purdue Pharma's best-selling opioid painkiller, OxyContin, is starting to look more like a curse than a blessing to the company as incidents of its abuse rise. The drug is being sold on the street like a narcotic, and publicity about pharmacies being robbed and overdose deaths caused by OxyContin could hurt sales. Purdue's not the first pharma company to stand accused of doing bad while trying to do good. But the company is frustrated, even as it takes precautions to stem abusive use of its product.

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Purdue Battles Generics, Early

The envy that many people in the biotech and pharma industry felt in the late 1990s when Purdue Pharma's revenues skyrocketed on sales of OxyContin was replaced by compassion, as the company struggled to deal with illegal use and abuse of the painkiller. Now Purdue is battlling a court ruling--sparked by would-be generic competitor Endo Pharmaceuticals--that finds the patents on Purdue's most important product are unenforceable. The company is confident it will prevail and enjoy another nine years of patent protection for OxyContin.

Purdue Battles Generics, Early

The envy that many people in the biotech and pharma industry felt in the late 1990s when Purdue Pharma's revenues skyrocketed on sales of OxyContin was replaced by compassion, as the company struggled to deal with illegal use and abuse of the painkiller. Now Purdue is battlling a court ruling--sparked by would-be generic competitor Endo Pharmaceuticals--that finds the patents on Purdue's most important product are unenforceable. The company is confident it will prevail and enjoy another nine years of patent protection for OxyContin.

Mid-Sized Purdue Fills Out

Recent deals by mid-sized, privately owned Purdue fit a strategy carefully crafted to reduce the firm's dependence on a single big-selling drug..

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