The promotion and marketing of oxycontin: commercial triumph, public health tragedy

Am J Public Health. 2009 Feb;99(2):221-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.131714. Epub 2008 Sep 17.


I focus on issues surrounding the promotion and marketing of controlled drugs and their regulatory oversight. Compared with noncontrolled drugs, controlled drugs, with their potential for abuse and diversion, pose different public health risks when they are overpromoted and highly prescribed. An in-depth analysis of the promotion and marketing of OxyContin illustrates some of the associated issues. Modifications of the promotion and marketing of controlled drugs by the pharmaceutical industry and an enhanced capacity of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate and monitor such promotion can have a positive impact on the public health.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid*
  • Commerce*
  • Drug Industry
  • Humans
  • Marketing* / organization & administration
  • Oxycodone* / administration & dosage
  • Oxycodone* / adverse effects
  • Oxycodone* / therapeutic use
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Public Health*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Oxycodone