Purdue hones abuse-deterrent edge with painkiller safety campaign

Purdue's "Team Against Opioid Abuse" campaign

When it comes to abuse-deterrent opioid painkillers, Purdue Pharma has the advantage--and it's touting that advantage with its latest marketing initiative.

The company has launched TeamAgainstOpioidAbuse.com, a website designed to help doctors and the public learn about different abuse-deterrent technologies--and how they can help cut down on misuse of the powerful painkillers. Doctors aren't the only ones who can hold the line against abuse, Purdue advises.

"Combating misuse and intentional abuse of prescription pain relievers involves more than just the person holding the prescription pad. It is a team effort, including pharmacists, nurses, counselors, caregivers, patients, and payers, both public- and private-sector," the company said.

The "team" motif plays prominently on the campaign website, with a cover-page photo of doctors and others wearing football eye black. According to J. David Haddox, the drugmaker's VP of health policy, Purdue developed the site to "inform everyone who influences how drugs are prescribed, taken, stored, and destroyed, when no longer needed."

Part of fighting opioid abuse, of course, is prescribing meds with abuse-deterrent properties--like Purdue's own hydrocodone-only Hysingla, which won FDA approval back in November. And the site is a way to emphasize that strategy, too. Right now, Purdue has the FDA's sanction to market Hysingla's abuse-deterrent properties.

And here's where the Purdue advantage comes in: Hysingla's rival--the controversial Zohydro, sold from Zogenix ($ZGNX) to Pernix Therapeutics ($PTX) earlier this year--can't boast the same abuse-deterrent distinction. While the FDA has approved a tamper-resistant version of the treatment, Pernix won't be able to use abuse deterrence as a selling point until the company submits further data for a label update--something Zogenix had said it was planning for the second half of this year.

- read Purdue's release