A foreign affiliate of Purdue Pharma—which makes OxyContin, the drug that has been directly linked to the opioid epidemic—is marketing a new medication to treat overdoses. The Sackler family-owned company, Mundipharma, has branded the drug with the slogan “Be prepared. Get naloxone. Save a life.” “You’re in the business of selling medicine that causes addiction and overdoses, and now you’re in the business of selling medicine that treats addiction and overdoses?” asked Dr. Andrew Kolodny in his testimony against Purdue Pharma in court, adding, “That’s pretty clever, isn’t it?” Purdue Pharma has been targeted with thousands of explosive lawsuits in the U.S. Meanwhile, Mundipharma has been expanding abroad and using the same tactics Purdue employed in the U.S. to push its signature painkiller.
Mundipharma said its naloxone nasal spray, called Nyxoid, is intended to serve as a life-saving strategy, a claim has been backed by health and addiction experts. The drug was recently approved in New Zealand, Europe, and Australia, but not in the U.S. Critics have said the naloxone spray is unnecessary because it has already long been readily available. Mundipharma’s brand, however, comes pre-packaged as a nasal spray to ease accessibility. A September 2014 conference call with Kathe Sackler made public in a lawsuit against the family showed that the pharmaceutical empire has long considered whether it will make money treating addition.