Purdue Pharma

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Purdue Pharma L.P., is a privately held pharmaceutical company founded by physicians and now located in Stamford, Connecticut. In its early years, Purdue was known for its antiseptic product, Betadine Solution, and its Senokot laxatives. Today, it is best known for its pain treatment products, such as MS Contin and OxyContin, but it has also branched into other areas such as oncology and nutraceuticals.

Purdue Pharma L.P.
Native name
Purdue Pharmaceuticals L.P.
Industry Pharmaceuticals
Founded Manhattan, New York, USA (1892 (1892))
Headquarters Yonkers, NY], USA
Key people
Mark Timney (President & CEO)
Website purduepharma.com (Global website)
Footnotes / references


Purdue Pharma is a privately-held company, founded in 1892 by doctors John Purdue Gray and George Frederick Bingham in Manhattan, New York City, NY, as the Purdue Frederick Company.[1]

In 1952, the company was sold to two more doctors, Raymond and Mortimer Sackler, who relocated to the business to Yonkers, NY. In the intervening years, the company has opened further offices in New Jersey and Connecticut. Its current HQ is in Stamford, Connecticut.

The current company, Purdue Pharma L.P., was constituted in 1991 and focuses on pain management medication, calling itself a "pioneer in developing medications for reducing pain, a principal cause of human suffering". In September 2015, the company's website said it has some 1,700 people on its payroll.[2]

In September 2015 the company announced it would acquire VM Pharma, gaining access to worldwide development and commercial rights to an allosteric selective tropomyosin receptor kinase inhibitor program – specifically the Phase II candidate VM-902A. The deal could generate more than $213 million for VM Pharma.[3]


The company's different branches include Purdue Pharma L.P., The Purdue Frederick Company, Purdue Pharmaceutical Products L.P., and Purdue Products L.P. The company's manufacturing takes place at three different sites, Purdue Pharmaceuticals L.P., a plant located in Wilson, North Carolina; The P.F. Laboratories Inc. in Totowa, New Jersey; and Rhodes Technologies L.P. in Coventry, Rhode Island. Purdue Pharma L.P. also has research labs in Cranbury, New Jersey. OxyContin is currently distributed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Distribution takes place from the P.F. Laboratories Inc. in Totowa, New Jersey.


Effective January 23, 2014: Mark Timney was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Purdue Pharmaceuticals.

Purdue CEO, Mark Timney, joined Purdue as President and Chief Executive Officer in early 2014 following a career with Merck, where he served for 15 years. Prior to this role, he was President of Merck US, where he managed Sales & Marketing, Managed Markets, and Payers. Before coming to the United States, Mr. Timney served for seven years as Merck’s Country Manager in Korea and then Japan. Prior to that, he held leadership positions for more than four years at Merck Australia. Before joining Merck, he spent eight years in sales and marketing at a number of multinational pharmaceutical companies, including Zeneca in New Zealand, ICI Pharmaceuticals in Australia, and Roussel Labs in the United Kingdom. Mark earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Studies and Marketing at Northumbria University in Newcastle, U.K.

Other key positions[edit]

  • Mark Timney - President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Stuart D. Baker - Executive Vice President and Counsel to the Board of Directors
  • Edward B. Mahony - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Saeed Motahari - Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer
  • Paul Damas - Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications
  • David Lundie - Vice President, Technical Operations
  • William Mallin - Vice President, Strategic Planning and Program Management
  • Susie Robinson - Vice President, Human Resources
  • Philip C. Strassburger - Vice President, General Counsel
  • Bert Weinstein - Vice President, Corporate Compliance


Purdue Pharma makes pain medicines such as hydromorphone, oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and hydrocodone. It is widely known for the production of drugs such as MS Contin, Oxycontin, and Ryzolt. In 1972, Contin (a controlled drug-release system) was developed. In 1984, its extended-release formulation of morphine, MS Contin, was released. In 1996 its extended-release formulation of oxycodone, OxyContin, was released.[2]

The controversy behind the company emerged as a result of the drugs that they made and how they carried high potential for abuse by drug abusers, and people with a history of addiction. The most commonly abused medications that the company produces are MS Contin and OxyContin. Both can be abused by crushing, chewing, snorting, or injecting the dissolved product. This is a significant risk to the abuser because it can result in overdose and death. Drug-seeking tactics that addicts undergo to obtain the medication will include “doctor shopping”, which is visiting a number of different physicians to obtain additional prescriptions, and refusal to follow up with appropriate examinations. Along with the high potential for abuse among people without prescriptions, there is also a risk for physical dependency and tolerance for patients that are prescribed them. Nevertheless, strong analgesic drugs remain indispensable to patients suffering from severe acute and cancer pain.[4]

When Oxycontin was released in 1996, it was thought to have lower abuse potential than immediate-release oxycodone because of its time-release properties. However, at the start of 2000, widespread reports of OxyContin abuse surfaced. The results obtained from a proactive abuse surveillance program called Researched Abused, Diversion, and Addicition-Related Surveillance (RADARS[5]) sponsored by Purdue Pharma L.P. pronounced Oxycontin and hydrocodone the most commonly abused pain medications.[6]

Oxycontin-related lawsuits[edit]

Purdue was involved in measures against prescription drug abuse, particularly of Oxycontin. In 2001, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued a statement urging Purdue to take action regarding abuse of Oxycontin; he did note that, while Purdue seemed sincere, there was little action being taken beyond "cosmetic and symbolic steps."[7] After Purdue announced plans to reformulate the drug, Blumenthal noted that this would take time, and that "Purdue Pharma has a moral, if not legal, obligation to take effective steps now that address addiction and abuse even as it works to reformulate the drug."[8] The company has since implemented a comprehensive program designed to assist in detection of the illegal trafficking and abuse of prescription drugs without compromising patient access to proper pain control.[citation needed]

In May 2007 the company pleaded guilty to misleading the public about Oxycontin's risk of addiction, and agreed to pay $600 million in one of the largest pharmaceutical settlements in U.S. history. Its president, top lawyer, and former chief medical officer pleaded guilty as individuals to misbranding charges, a criminal violation, and agreed to pay a total of $34.5 million in fines.[9][10] Those executives are: Michael Friedman, the company’s president, who agreed to pay $19 million in fines; Howard R. Udell, its top lawyer, who agreed to pay $8 million; and Dr. Paul D. Goldenheim, its former medical director, who agreed to pay $7.5 million.

In addition three top executives were charged with a felony and sentenced to 400 hours of community service in drug treatment programs.[11]

On October 4, 2007 Kentucky officials sued Purdue because of widespread Oxycontin abuse in Appalachia. A lawsuit filed by Kentucky then-Attorney General Greg Stumbo and Pike County officials demanded millions in compensation.[12]

Kentucky is filing a total of 12 claims against the company, including false advertising, Medicaid fraud, unjust enrichment, and punitive damages. In total the suit could cost Purdue Pharma $1 billion (which is just one-third of its annual revenues from OxyContin).[13]


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