Purdue Pharma, makers of opioid painkiller OxyContin, will no longer market opioid medicines to doctors.
The company said it will reduce its sales force by half and will tell doctors today that it will no longer send salespeople to medical offices to try to sell them on the painkiller, which years ago was seen as a breakthrough medication for sufferers of the worst pain, but has since been blamed for starting an epidemic of addiction and overdoses.
The company’s Oxycontin was once hailed as a major boost to efforts to fight pain, particularly in cancer patients.
“We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers,” the Stamford, Connecticut-based company said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The move means the layoff of about 50 percent of Purdue’s sales staff, according to The Verge.
The company says it will still handle requests from doctors who have questions about prescription opioids.
The government has declared opioid abuse and overdoses a major public health emergency.