How Much Did Purdue Pharma Really Make from OxyContin?



Purdue Pharma, famous for its painkiller OxyContin, has had its fair share of legal and financial ups and downs. While they once celebrated impressive earnings, controversies loomed large. In 2016, Purdue Pharma reported revenues of $31 billion, a figure that climbed to $35 billion in 2017. But amidst these soaring numbers, questions arise about how much money the company truly made, especially given the controversies that followed.


The Rise of Purdue Pharma

Purdue Pharma’s journey began with the introduction of OxyContin, a groundbreaking painkiller that changed the game in pain management. Thanks to this wonder drug, the company’s revenues shot up. In 2016, their cumulative earnings reached $31 billion, and the following year, they peaked at $35 billion.


The Wealth Behind the Scenes

If we look behind the financial curtain, we find the influential Sackler family, Purdue Pharma’s main stakeholders. In 2017, their combined wealth was a staggering $13 billion. However, many believed their true fortune exceeded this reported amount.

In 2021, the US House Oversight Committee delved into the family’s finances and estimated their total worth to be around $11 billion, still an astronomical sum by any measure.


Opioid Crisis Allegations

Purdue Pharma’s cash cow, OxyContin, soon turned into a liability. The company faced a barrage of lawsuits, mainly accusing them of downplaying the addictive nature of OxyContin in their marketing efforts. To address these lawsuits, Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy protection. However, an unexpected twist unfolded: the Sackler family did not follow suit.


Supreme Court’s Involvement

The legal battles reached the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court halted Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy deal due to concerns about the terms involving the Sacklers. This move was seen as an effort to ensure that the family would be held responsible for their alleged role in the opioid crisis.


Current Status: OxyContin and Purdue Pharma

Many wonder about the fate of OxyContin and the current situation of Purdue Pharma. Despite the controversies, OxyContin remains on the market but now faces stricter regulations. As for Purdue Pharma, its future remains uncertain. While the bankruptcy proceedings continue, the company’s ultimate destiny remains up in the air.


Closing Thoughts

Purdue Pharma’s journey, intertwined with the revolutionary drug OxyContin, serves as a lesson in the delicate balance between innovation and responsibility. From skyrocketing revenues to legal battles, it underscores the challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry.




What were Purdue Pharma’s revenues in 2017?

Purdue Pharma’s cumulative revenues in 2017 amounted to $35 billion.

What is the estimated worth of the Sackler family, Purdue Pharma’s primary stakeholders, as of 2021?

As of 2021, the estimated collective worth of the Sackler family is around $11 billion.

Did Purdue Pharma file for bankruptcy?

Yes, Purdue Pharma sought bankruptcy protection in response to numerous lawsuits.

Is OxyContin still available in the market?

Yes, OxyContin remains available, but it is now subject to stricter regulations.