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FRANKFORT, Ky. — After a 3 1/2 year legal battle, secret records about Purdue Pharma’s marketing of its potent opioid painkiller OxyContin will finally be made public. The Kentucky Supreme Court denied a request from Purdue to review lower courts’ decisions to release the documents, according to a one-page order received Monday by the lawyers in the case.

The decision is a major victory for STAT, which first filed a motion to unseal the records in March 2016. Purdue has fought to keep the documents out of view, but the Supreme Court’s refusal is final and can’t be appealed.


Now, the public stands to get a glimpse of new information about how Purdue promoted OxyContin and what executives knew about the risk of addiction that came with the drug. The company’s aggressive marketing of OxyContin has been blamed by some analysts for helping trigger an opioid addiction epidemic. Overdoses related to prescription opioids have claimed 200,000 lives in the last two decades, and there are now nearly 100 opioid deaths every day in the U.S., many from heroin and the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

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  • This is absurd! I’ll never read stat again! You’re helping the cdc and drs harm pain patients by taking this to court. Too bad many people were/are addicts. Many like me who depend on opioids for chronic pain who aren’t abusing our meds and endure gladly the eyes on us to feel like amwe must prove we’re using our meds appropriately ! This whole mess is wrong and an intentional oversite!

  • In 1999 my husband born in 1950 had back surgery. The surgeon sent him home with oxycontin
    Did not explain they were time released and he died in his sleep of congestive heart failure due to accidental oxycontin overdose.
    I wish I could be included in this
    He died in our bed on the Christmas season with all of our children home for the holidays.
    We all have PTSD.

  • The FDA approval process, including the clinical trials are available for all Physicians and health professionals. What is lost in this debate is the fact that between 25 30% of Americans suffer from Chronic or Intractable pain. Less than 10% of those treated by a boarded pain physician will ever misuse their opioids. The other fact is that powerful opioids provide those crippled by chronic pain several hours a day to participate in the life that has been taken from them. These people do not seek euphoria like an addict, they simply want their life back. The percent of those who become addicted remains stable. Moreover, the gap between opioids and the next best analgesic ( non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) is very wide and these meds do not provide the relief needed to attain a quality of life. We need viable alternatives. For anyone who believes that NSAID’s are as effective for pain as opioids do this. Next time you break a bone or have surgery tell them you prefer the Ibuprofen for pain and not the opioid. Then you will understand this gap. Finally the pill mills did not create a million addicts. The addicts and dealers found an easy quasi-legal way to attain powerful drugs from unscrupulous doctors. They were shut down. But the CDC and the FDA have limited production and dosing for pain patients. Why? These are the easiest targets. These policies will not prevent a single death from overdose as the addicts have found cheaper home made fentanyl and heroin. Yet legitimate pain patients cannot get the relief they require to have a quality of life. They are physically dependents on the opioid, but NOT ADDICTED, this point is often lost in the debate. More research in to alternatives such as synthesizing the Mitraganine Alkoloids in Kratom, as they do not depressed breathing or heart rate and bind to other non Mu opioid receptors is a potential, safer alternative. The DEA should target the clandestine labs that are making fentanyl or they will soo become as prolific as the Meth labs in the 90’s and 100 times more lethal.

    • Well said. Surgery, injury & chronic pain patients did not create this problem but currently are the ones being punished for it. It is difficult to track down & arrest dealers & drug cartel members, or solve the social problems such as lack of jobs & hope in some areas of the country. It is easy to scare a hospital CEO or pain management physician with threats by DEA and state officials. They are going after the low-hanging fruit despite the harm they are causing to anyone who needs pain medication for a legitimate medical purpose. Our local hospital chain no longer prescribes opioids for mastectomies, appendectomies and gall bladder surgery. Our state has a law that one can only get 7 days’ worth of opioid pain medication, no matter how severe or invasive the surgery, and our major hospital group is denying patients even that! This is NOT going to prevent addiction or overdosed but IS going to cause a lot of unnecessary suffering. Patients who are in pain suffer worse surgery outcomes as well, as they refuse to get out of bed or cannot participate in physical therapy to get them moving again if the pain is un- or under-treated. The pendulum has swung too far. Balance is sorely needed.

  • The attorney general destroyed 17 million pages of reports to get a 24 million settlement (Greg Stumbo once said Ky could get a billion dollar settlement) & now his replacement wants to save the state as governor. Wonder what kind of deals daddy’s boy has planned next?

  • a pain epidemic that isn’t even real…..When numbers are way less the 99.99 percent. There is no epidemic, they just want us to think there is Twisting math numbers around and making things seem worse than they are. While 30% of Americans. Cannot find food Daily…. Not yearly…. Now no one can get pain medication. go to the dentist forget it does it matter if you have wisdom teeth pulled out…. my mom broke 3 toes when she fell and had contusions down her back and was told only take tylenol and was only received tylenol at the hospital…… this is not mothers against drunk drivers campaign….. this is about people.

  • Seems the Purdue Lawyers know what’s in those records- I wonder if that makes them co-conspirators or suborners of perjury? No doubt our worthless Bar Associations won’t do anything and they never take on the big boys…. as corrupt as the lawyers themselves. Its time for Civilian oversight over the Bar acoiations and ABA.

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