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Drug maker offers context on advances in opioid safety

Re “Drug maker foiled antiopioid effort” (Page A1, Oct. 26): I write to provide necessary context to your article regarding Purdue Pharma’s 2001 contracting practices. Given the gravity of the opioid epidemic, it’s critical your readers know that not all reductions in opioid prescribing result in reduced opioid abuse.

Opioid prescribing in the United States has been declining since 2013. Yet the problem persists because it requires a comprehensive approach, not just the blunt instrument of prior authorizations, which often impede prescribing to appropriate patients in pain. Opioid manufacturers must promote products responsibly, helping to ensure that our medicines are prescribed only to the right patient for the right reason.

In the past, Purdue failed to meet this standard, but we accepted full accountability for those missteps, and for the past 14 years we’ve worked tirelessly to help reduce opioid abuse and diversion of opioids to those for whom they were not prescribed. We led the industry in developing medications with abuse-deterrent properties and advocated for the establishment of prescription drug monitoring programs.


Today, thanks in part to Purdue’s contribution, Massachusetts’ prescription drug monitoring program shares prescribing data with neighboring states to help reduce misprescribing of opioids.

To best serve public health, the Globe should recognize the impactful efforts companies like Purdue have taken to address the opioid epidemic.

Mark Timney
President and CEO
Purdue Pharma
Stamford, Conn.