Since 2002, Purdue Pharma has kept a list of doctors who recklessly prescribe OxyContin, but they rarely alert authorities about the physicians, according to a Los Angeles Times story.
Purdue used its database this year to bolster an extraordinary argument to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: The OxyContin it had sold for 14 years was so prone to abuse that generic drug companies should not be allowed to copy it. Purdue said in a letter to the FDA that the argument was based in part on an analysis of prescriptions written by 364 active prescribers of OxyContin in Region Zero.
According to Purdue, when the company introduced a tamper-resistant formulation in August 2010, the doctors’ prescriptions for maximum-strength OxyContin — the one favored by addicts — plummeted by 80%. Prescriptions for Opana, a narcotic painkiller made by a rival that could still be crushed and snorted, shot up about 400%, the internal study found. When crush-resistant Opana came out two years later, the same doctors’ prescriptions for that drug also plunged.
The documents Purdue submitted to the FDA can be found here. They show how carefully Purdue tracked the plummeting prescription rates of OxyContin after the reformulation rendered it useless to addicts. The chart the Times story references can be found on page 10 of the “Exhibits A Thru H” document.
UPDATE: In response to the story, California lawmakers have urged Purdue to turn over the list of overprescribers to authorities.