Purdue, Endo answer calls to deal with painkiller abuse

Officials from Kentucky and Florida want the makers of addictive painkillers to "take responsibility," because their current efforts at cooperating with law enforcement and educating consumers and physicians aren't enough, reports the Louisville, KY, Courier-Journal.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers argues that drugmakers have helped create the prescription-drug abuse problem. He names OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma as a culprit. Court records show Purdue looked for physicians--many of whom had limited training in treating serious pain--to prescribe large numbers of pain pills, the article states. In 2007, the company pleaded guilty under a plea deal and acknowledged misleading physicians, according to the story.

Purdue denies a role in driving prescription drug abuse. The company is "committed to being part of the solution," says VP Alan Must, as quoted by the paper. As part of that commitment, Purdue has developed a reformulation of OxyContin that makes it harder for addicts to cut, chew, crush or dissolve the pills; however, they can still exceed the recommended dosage. Endo Pharmaceuticals ($ENDP) is seeking FDA approval for a similar reformulation of its painkiller Opana, the story says.

Purdue also has given $1 million to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to help link prescription drug monitoring systems across states and is working with Florida officials on televised public-service announcements.

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