Massachusetts Attorney General Targets Oxycontin Maker Purdue, Says They Engineered Opioid Crisis

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The Massachusetts attorney general is targeting Purdue Pharma and eight members of the Sackler family who own the company, alleging in a lawsuit they are "personally responsible" for deceptively selling OxyContin.

The attorney general, Maura Healey, sat down with CBS This Morning. She alleges the Sackler family hired "hundreds of workers to carry out their wishes" – pushing doctors to get "more patients on opioids, at higher doses, for longer, than ever before" all while paying "themselves billions of dollars."

In her lawsuit, Healey names eight members of the family that own Purdue Pharma, alleging they "micromanaged" a "deceptive sales campaign." In the conclusion to the complaint, Healey said the Sackler family used the power at their disposal to engineer an opioid crisis. Almost 400,000 people died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2017, according to the CDC.

Full Story: CBS This Morning



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1
Karol Says:

I think people that are on opiods are going through the worst of it, as it does help, but it gets taken away. And we as pain patients have to suffer the pain along with the severe withdraw symptoms. Doctors don't go through that, they made their money. So where is the justice?

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Bella Says:
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Greed is the motive here. So awful when a drug company understands the consequences in prescribing this just for profit. I sometimes wonder the phrase “What profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” This has happened to me, a certain pain clinic tried to put me on these I said no I did not want to be on them 24/7 I want to be able to control my pain something less powerful but as needed. They simply said “You do not tell us how to help you, we tell you.” And I live in Mass. I remain silent as not to ruin it for other patients who may need this more than me 24/7. But Perdue are nothing but money hungry profit above people makers. Bout time they be held accountable. None get away with things like this....

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Anon Says:
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If you read the filings it’s pretty interesting. Especially because the pain clinic I go to still goes by some of the lies the sales folks used to tell. Like appropriate patients won’t get addicted. And the one about how people are less likely to get addicted to extended release meds because there isn’t an “up and down” when there is a constant supply in your system. That is not true & this is part of why they are in trouble for fraud. Yet long time pain clinics still use this. Last time I went in I had to circle things on a paper and add up the points to see how likely it is that I will abuse my meds. Some aren’t even about me-like do I have a family member who abuses drugs. Hell if I would even admit to that if I did, if it means I will be subjected to more scrutiny. Or if I was molested as a kid. 40 years ago doesn’t affect my choices today, so really? The worst part was that men get more points for each thing, just because they’re men.

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nimshie29 Says:

He will have a hard time prosecuting his case. These companies have power and money to spare.

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5
Roy Says:

From the article linked to ... wow, what would they define as "abusers":

In one alleged instance, then-president Richard Sackler devised what Healey describes as Sackler's "solution to the overwhelming evidence of overdose and death," writing in a confidential email, "we have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem."

I'd like to know if the CDC might consider any of these messages which have surfaced and update their "guidelines" to give patients a little more slack!

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6
Beth Says:
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I want more proof that Purdue is guilty of this, and exactly how did they manipulate this kind of scheme?? I want a lot more answers!!! And the numbers everyone keeps throwing around of deaths due to opioids is constantly changing!! We, the people are paying attention to what your writing and claiming!!! One more thing, I know for a fact that the majority of opioids that are killing people are illegal drugs, such as heroin!!! So please be more accurate!!

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MedsChat Admin Says:
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Re: Beth (# 6)

Good feedback, thank you Beth. Please note that we simply republished part of a story from CBS news because it tends to be a topic of interest on our site. That being said, it appears that there was a ruling on Monday which orders the full release of redacted materials involved in the lawsuit. According to the ruling, the complaint must be made public by noon today. It will be interesting to see what the full contents of the lawsuit reveal.

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Bella Says:
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Re: Beth (# 6)

Every day more than 130 people overdose and die on prescription painkillers. The CDC estimates that the total of prescription opioid misuse alone in the USA is $78.5 Billion a year including addiction treatment, and criminal involvement. In the late 1990’s the pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not be addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This led to misuse and became clear that these meds could be highly addictive. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died from prescription meds as well as heroin, and Fentanyl. That same year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the USA suffered from substance abuse related just to prescription pain meds and 625,000 from heroin. 29% misuse prescription meds. 12% develop an opioid use disorder. 4-6% go from pain meds TO heroin. 80% actually go from pain pills to heroin. Including my 23 year old nephew from pills.

As far as the greedy Sackler family goes THEY KNEW their Oxycontin was causing overdoses, yet continued to cash in as deaths mounted. Not only the Sackler family but 9 board members as well. Purdue argues to withhold info about the Sacklers, one of the richest families in the USA. Getting rich off the deaths of deceased people. Mr. Sackler is obsessed with profits as Ms Healy has stated. Matter of fact in Sacklers own words, he wrote that he had hoped for “better results” after one weeks prescribing these pills. Sales reps were told they would be fired because they were not increasing their pill prescriptions. Mr. Sackler then went on to say “The launch of Oxycontin tablets will be followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition. The prescription blizzard will be so deep, dense, and white.” Over the next 20 years, his dream had come true. They created a man-made disaster. Their prescriptions had buried children, parents, and grandparents across Mass and it continues. The company’s then-president, lawyer, AND chief medical officer, plead guilty to a felony, and Purdue paid a $600 million dollar fine for misleading the public. Personally, I think they are greedy, scum sucking, selfish, non-compassionate a**holes who deserve life in prison. And you need proof???

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9
Mare Says:

Re: Bella (# 8)

Part of the problem with opioids being prescribed is because the insurance would rather approve pain meds than actually fixing the problem with surgery or other avenues. For me, my problem could be fixed with a spinal disc implant. Since 1997, I was given meds instead. It’s far cheaper than an operation & hospital time. So same on the insurance companies who also contributed to this so called “crisis”. For the most part, it’s not the patient who is getting addicted. It’s the people wanting to get high out in the streets. If you are a pain patient & you are selling your meds SHAME ON YOU! Your doctor needs to kick you out of their office. But you need to leave the people alone who get relief from their meds & take it as prescribed.

I don’t take Oxycontin but if I did, I would use them for relief. Not for a few bucks in my pocket. I think that most people who have chronic pain or had surgery that their pain is controlled by these meds, you need to leave it to their doctor. Just because there are dumb selfish people who would rather buy or sell their meds, don’t lump everyone in the same category.

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Bella Says:
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Re: Mare (# 9)

Did you not read my post in the statistics of misuse? Not selling it but taking more than you should, due to a tolerance build up. And it’s opposite where I live they would rather do surgery than to give out meds. Although “shots” are the new thing in which physicians pocket $2400 for each cortisone etc... shots they give you. What a racket and they don’t even work. I have been down every avenue, even as a Catholic going to healing Masses which I may add worked at one time. It’s learning to live with the pain, and getting to the bottom of it instead of a medication band aid. I feel for others in agonizing pain as pain meds actually cause more pain. Hence the big business. Purdue needs to be locked away and the rest of them for the sake of the people who died from their greed. May God help us all.

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Roy Says:

Here's some more recent news on Purdue:

(Reuters) - OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP is exploring filing for bankruptcy to address potentially significant liabilities from roughly 2,000 lawsuits alleging the drugmaker contributed to the deadly opioid crisis sweeping the United States, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Ref: Exclusive: OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma exploring bankruptcy

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Mare Says:

Re: Bella (# 10)

It is true about the numbers & they need to go back to the manufacturers. Also, doctors have a responsibility to “do no harm”. Pharmacies need to be included as well. I have had meds that worked great only to get a different manufacturer when calling in my refill. Why do pharmacies change a manufacturer? I just had an instance where I’ve been taking the same brand of triazolam for many years. I go to the same pharmacy. Now they changed brands which by the way are inferior to the other medication I’ve been taking for years. It all comes down to the manufacturer. They give pharmacies big incentives to change brands & aren’t as effective as the ones taken previously. I noticed it right away. Then if you try to find a pharmacy that gives you the brand you have always used, you looked at as a pharmacy shopper. I do not know the chemical breakdown between the two. I can only go by how it effects me. Are they using different ingredients. Don’t know. Never had an issue with them except that this other brand is less effective. It all comes down to money. Also, when I go to my pain doctor, there are countless pharmaceutical reps that come in with samples all the time. Maybe that’s where the gov should be focusing their attention on.

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Charlene Says:
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Re: Beth (# 6)

I'm with you on this topic. Needing more proof..I mean how can they acculy talk doctors into prescribing medications

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Charlene Says:
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Re: Bella (# 8)

Well wow. I just made a statement to someone agreeing for more proof and info on the sackler family..and you just said it so well. Seriously I understand it now. Great reading material thank you so much for clarifying this and taking your time to write this

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