Richard Sackler, the billionaire businessman behind Purdue Pharma, has patented a new drug to help treat opioid addiction (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). The news of the patented form of buprenorphine, a mild opioid that is used to ease withdrawal symptoms, comes as Colorado's attorney general is suing the OxyContin creator for profiting from opioid addictions. Some now believe that Sackler and his family, who owns Purdue Pharma, will be trying to profit from the antidote. The Washington Post reports:

The lawsuit claims Purdue Pharma L.P. and Purdue Pharma Inc. deluded doctors and patients in Colorado about the potential for addiction with prescription opioids and continued to push the drugs. And it comes amid news that the company's former chairman and president, Richard Sackler, has patented a new drug to help wean addicts from opioids. "Purdue's habit-forming medications coupled with their reckless marketing have robbed children of their parents, families of their sons and daughters, and destroyed the lives of our friends, neighbors, and co-workers," Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said Thursday in a statement. "While no amount of money can bring back loved ones, it can compensate for the enormous costs brought about by Purdue's intentional misconduct."

The lawsuit states that Purdue Pharma "downplayed the risk of addiction associated with opioids," "exaggerated the benefits" and "advised health care professionals that they were violating their Hippocratic Oath and failing their patients unless they treated pain symptoms with opioids," according to the statement from the Colorado attorney general's office. But Purdue Pharma "vigorously" denied the accusations Friday in a statement to The Washington Post, saying that although it shares "the state's concern about the opioid crisis," it did not mislead health-care providers about prescription opioids. "The state claims Purdue acted improperly by communicating with prescribers about scientific and medical information that FDA has expressly considered and continues to approve," a spokesman for Purdue Pharma said in the statement. "We believe it is inappropriate for the state to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the regulatory, scientific and medical experts at FDA."

The report makes note of the patent's description, which acknowledges the risk of addiction associated with opioids and states that the drug could be used both in drug replacement therapy and pain management.
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