The man who made billions by selling the highly addictive drug OxyContin has received a patent to sell an opioid treatment.
Richard Sackler, the former chairman and president of the OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, is one of six inventors listed on a patent "for a new formulation of buprenorphine," Axios reported Friday. The invention is a variation of buprenorphine, a mild opiate that is often used as an OxyContin substitute and a common treatment for opioid addiction, the Financial Times reports. The patent was granted earlier this year.
The inventors could stand to make a lucrative profit from the drug due to the increased need for milder opioid alternatives as the country grapples with a devastating and deadly opioid epidemic. In 2017, British pharmaceuticals group Indivior earned more than $800 million from U.S. sales of buprenorphine, per FT.
Purdue Pharma, owned by Sackler's family, is currently being sued by more than 1,000 jurisdictions for its involvement in the opioid crisis, Stat reports. The family has denied responsibility. Marianne Dodson