March 28 U.S. Democratic senator Claire
McCaskill sought on Tuesday details from the nation's top opioid
drugmakers on their sales and marketing practices, as lawmakers
step up efforts to tackle the country's deadly opioid crisis.
The Missouri senator's investigation comes amid an epidemic
of opioid addiction, with 91 Americans dying everyday as a
result of overdose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
"This epidemic is the direct result of a calculated sales
and marketing strategy major opioid manufacturers have allegedly
pursued over the past 20 years to expand their market share,"
McCaskill, the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote in a letter to the
McCaskill asked Johnson & Johnson, Mylan NV,
Purdue Pharma, Insys Therapeutics Inc and Depomed Inc
for internal estimates of the risk of abuse, addiction
and overdose of opioids.
The companies are the top five U.S. prescription opioid
drugmakers by 2015 sales, according to McCaskill's letter.
Depomed and Purdue Pharma said they were reviewing the
letter and would respond accordingly.
Purdue also said its OxyContin painkiller made up just 2
percent of the U.S. opioid analgesic prescription market.
Johnson & Johnson, Insys and Mylan did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)