PIKEVILLE, Ky. — In the early days of OxyContin, Dr. Richard Sackler, a member of the billionaire family that founded and controls Purdue Pharma, learned about concerns that the potent opioid could lead to abuse in chronic pain patients, and he then proposed executives aggressively push back, according to newly unsealed documents obtained by STAT after a four-year court battle.

An email chain from January 1997 — just a year after Purdue launched the drug — shows that Merck Medco, then one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit managers, had begun cautioning doctors that use of OxyContin to treat chronic pain patients could lead to abuse. That news set off alarms among executives at the Connecticut-based Purdue because it threatened to derail the company’s strategy to tap a lucrative non-cancer pain market.

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  • These emails are from over 20 years ago? The late 90s? WHEN will you cover the largest to-date opioid settlement, that of Indivior pushing Suboxone, getting seats at the policy table in secret, doing precisely the same things you continue to harp on about with Purdue? The data is in: overdoses and addictions are right now, this year, last year, the year before, coming from illegal drugs in the streets dealt by criminal global cartels. NOT from patients suffering from rare painful diseases for which there are no cures, only symptom management for their pain, who you want to pretend don’t exist. Breast cancer pain care in this country is now on a third world level, where they don’t have access to analgesics for the agonies of cancer treatment. Well, American women don’t either, because of a narrow group of ideologues who work primarily in psychiatry who think it best they withhold pain care from even the dying in palliative and hospice care, now from our beloved pets. If you think that Americans will accept a return to Civil War field hospital era medical care, you’ve got another thing coming. This is the 21st century, not 1819. Then ‘providers’ wonder why people are so hostile to them, why the public ranks them lower than a snails belly? Let your mother scream in agony, your wife, your child, and have a doctor tell you that they would like to prescribe them pain relief, but the government will not allow it, or worse than that, that your pain is not worth risking their medical license. Sickle cell patients are being killed in hospitals from the refusal to use opioids to relieve their pain, overdosed on liver and kidney destroying NSAIDs, yet we KNOW that 1% of ODs have prescription meds in their system, 1%! The rate of addiction has never changed, what has changed is the lethality of street drugs. So keep focusing on an email from 1996, while you ignore the present. Transparently agenda-driven nonsense, you should be sticking up for patients who are suffering, joining the ranks of the disabled, losing homes to foreclosure, losing everything because they cannot manage their incurable disease pain enough to function. And to top it off, losing access to all medical care because they are such a liability, no doctor will touch them.

  • Sack and HANG Sackler by his own claws, teeth and balls ! For his flagrant abuse of $$$ and position and power, for his total flippant disregard of his contribution to the opioid crisis, for his pushing his company’s products far above and beyond the pain relief for surgeries etc., for his zero-qualms about anything but profits and a rich life ….. NAIL this low-life !!!!

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