OxyContin, one of the most notoriously addictive painkillers on the market, is one of the biggest contributors to the current opioid crisis.
Now, Richard Sackler, the man whose family owns the company that produces the drug, has been granted a patent for a reformulation of a drug often used to wean addicts off of opioids, according to The Financial Times.
Sackler, along with his company Purdue Pharma, were hit with a major lawsuit by the Massachusetts attorney-general in June for their "deadly, deceptive scheme" to boost sales of opioids, even during the current addiction crisis that claimed over 42,000 lives in 2016.
This new patent is a variation on buprenorphine, which is a mild opiate that helps control drug cravings. The creation of this drug could potentially mitigate the number of people addicted to heroin, OxyContin or other painkillers.
While your gut reaction may be that this is a good thing, and in many ways it does have potential to help a large number of people, it makes it much harder to swallow once you realize that it will also serve to line the pockets of those who helped create the problem in the first place.
Earlier this week, the $13 billion dollar company donated $3.4 million to boost access to an antidote for people who have overdosed on opioids.
With this new patent, however, they potentially stand to profit billions more.