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Purdue Pharma, which makes the OxyContin painkiller that helped trigger an opioid crisis that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, will plead guilty to three felony criminal charges as part of an $8.3 billion settlement that also resolves civil charges against the company.

As part of the deal, Purdue admitted to lying to the Drug Enforcement Administration about a program to monitor diversion by physicians and reporting misleading information to the agency in order to boost manufacturing quotas, according to the plea deal. Purdue also admitted to violating anti-kickback laws in two ways: by paying doctors — through speaker programs — to write more prescriptions and also paying an electronic health records company to influence prescribing and ordering (that company reached a $145 million settlement earlier this year).

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  • The next time you hear the Supreme Court tell you corporations are people ask them who is going to jail for addicting our Nation to opioids? No one goes to jail when a corporation pleads guilty to felonies. And, in this example, the family who ran the corporation even gets to keep all the money the siphoned off before declaring bankruptcy. This deal is criminal.

  • I appreciate there are many who truly need slow-release pain medication, but there are too many stories of people started on OxyContin (often over-prescribed, standard automatic huge prescriptions for minor surgeries etc) getting addicted and seeking bigger fixes in other opioids, then overdosing. There is ample proof that the Sacklers pushed OxyContin with bribes, threats, addiction denial, etc – just for profiteering. They ruthlessly promoted addiction and deaths, and must be held liable. Aside from billions (company AND personal = and drain the Sackler family coffers) jail time is absolutely warranted.

  • I have been a pharmacist and pharmacist-in-charge at numerous pharmacies in my 45-year career. None of the OxyContin prescriptions I filled were due to a kickback to either the prescribing doctor or the pharmacy. The doctors were ethical and prescribed solely for the relief of physical pain. The patients were legitimate pain patients.
    However, during that time I saw many, many abusers who lied to doctors, stole prescriptions, forged prescriptions, stole medications, and on and on.
    Purdue is not the culprit in this problem. The abusers are. They need to take responsibility for their own actions! Purdue made claims that OxyContin had less potential for abuse. This was and is a true statement. OxyContin is a controlled release product. It does not give the wild fluctuations in blood levels that immediate release Oxycodone causes. One of the worst “guidelines” created by the CDC and blindly prosecuted by the DEA is the one that states that pain patients must use immediate release products. STUPID!!! It totally ignores metabolic facts and basic scientific principles. OxyContin, by far, gives more consistent pain relief and better function. The abusers found that they could cause the controlled release function to fail by crushing the OxyContin. Purdue responded by making it unpalatable to crush the tablets by adding an anti-opioid drug to release if the tablet was crushed. OxyContin continued to give better, more consistent pain control. I can testify to this myself, because I am an intractable pain patient (after two unsuccessful back surgeries, then a traffic accident caused by a young man running a red light). This is not something I ever anticipated, but I live with it. I did so at a more comfortable and functional level before the idiot CDC and DEA started trying to solve the “opioid crisis” caused by abusers by regulating prescribing to legitimate pain patients.
    That approach is NEVER going to work because we are NOT the ones abusing the opioids!
    The rabid prosecution and punishment of all prescribers not bowing to the arbitrary “guidelines” has caused innumerable cases of suffering and death. One suicide of which I am personally aware. The man was my next door neighbor and we had the common ground of both being disabled by intractable pain and being switched from OxyContin to immediate release Oxycodone. We both had decreased pain control and function due to the change, but he was also a Vietnam veteran who suffered from his service. He lost control of his pain and increased his usage of the only drug his doctor was allowed to prescribe (immediate release Oxycodone). The doctor was again threatened with loss of license and possible prosecution. Instead of letting the patient go back to the OxyContin he handled well, they discontinued his opioid medication. He didn’t even get the slow weaning or change to Methadone (an opioid that has a long half-life) that abusers routinely get when their addiction is being treated. He lasted through a few months of agony before he committed suicide! This scenario is, unfortunately, not that rare. When government bureaucracies try to practice medicine it is a recipe for disaster. That is what this country has now. The “opioid crisis” is due to abusers and that fact needs to be recognized. Making legitimate pain patients suffer is not the answer. Neither is bullying and threatening ethical doctors until they practice “cookie-cutter medicine”. People are individuals with variations in metabolism and tolerance to drug side effects. That also needs to be recognized.

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