Opioid billionaire gets patent to 'cure' addicts

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The treatment is a new formulation of buprenorphine, which has been shown to help people with opioid addiction.

A $3.4 million grant to help a non-profit company develop a less expensive opioid overdose antidote was announced by Purdue Pharma, which makes the opioid painkiller OxyContin.

Meanwhile, the company is being sued in federal court in OH by more than 1,000 cities, states, counties and tribes for its role in the rampant distribution of OxyContin in America, its following outbreak of substance abuse, and in some cases, public safety and law enforcement costs associated with addiction.

The Financial Times reported that Sackler, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, a multibillion-dollar company, patented a new drug earlier this year that is a form of buprenorphine, a mild opioid that is used to ease withdrawal symptoms. He told the newspaper that the Sackler family "shouldn't be allowed to peddle any more synthetic opiates - and that includes opioid substitutes".

The patent on the new buprenorphin was issued in January.

Purdue has denied the allegations in the lawsuits, which also target a range of other opioid painkiller manufacturers and distributors. However, the patent describes a wafer-like form of buprenorphine that dissolves faster than other existing forms and limits the risk for diversion.

Buprenorphine is now prescribed in tablets or fast-dissolving strips.

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Sackler's father was one of three brothers who founded Purdue Pharma, the company that may have fueled this epidemic.

The Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma, the first RX company to develop the highly addicting drug OxyContin. The Sackler family, which controls Purdue, was personally named in a lawsuit in June in which the MA attorney general accused them of a "deadly, deceptive scheme to sell opioids".

Purdue Pharma did not respond to requests for comment on the new drug, but in addressing the lawsuit in Colorado, the company said: "We share the state's concern about the opioid crisis".

The description in the patent warns that people who are addicted to drugs sometimes commit crimes to feed their habit, which is why it says improved forms of medication-assisted treatment are needed.

The CDC states that both illegal opioids and prescription opioids, which are commonly used to treat pain, have been associated with addiction, overdoses and death.

The grant is being given to Pittsburgh-based Harm Reduction Therapeutics, which is trying to develop a low-priced nasal spray with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

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