Son of Purdue Pharma owner wins patent for opioid dependence treatment

Richard Sackler, MD, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, earned a patent for a new formulation of buprenorphine, according to STAT.

The FDA has already approved the new formulation of buprenorphine — a treatment for opioid dependence — in tablet form. However, the patent describes a wafer-like form of buprenorphine that dissolves faster than other existing forms and limits the risk for diversion.

Dr. Sackler is one of six inventors listed on the patent, which was issued in January. He formerly served as the president of Purdue, and his father is one of three brothers who founded the company.

Purdue is currently being sued by more than 1,000 cities, states, counties and tribes for allegedly contributing to the opioid epidemic through its marketing and distribution of the opioid OxyContin. Critics say the patent could allow the Sackler family to financially benefit from the opioid epidemic, according to Financial Times.

Purdue declined STAT's request to comment on the patent.

More articles on opioids: 

BCBS of Tennessee to drop OxyContin coverage in 2019

Harvard Medical School unveils opioid photojournalism project

#NOpioid ad campaign promotes medical marijuana for pain management

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