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"When We Say 'Pharma Greed Kills,' This Is What We Mean": Critics Respond to Possible Purdue Bankruptcy

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"When We Say 'Pharma Greed Kills,' This Is What We Mean": Critics Respond to Possible Purdue Bankruptcy

Julia Conley, staff writer

After spending hundreds of millions of dollars convincing the American public that opioid painkillers are safe to use for chronic pain—and fueling a deadly, decades-long addiction epidemic as a result—the drug maker Purdue Pharma could file for bankruptcy to avoid being held accountable for its actions.

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#2

Bankruptcy is a chickensh_t way out of responsibility. This requires the corporate death penalty (like we use to do it) and jail for all of the principles of this organization

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#3

Not completely aware of the particulars of the lawsuits, but I do not believe anyone has been forced to take opioids.

Seriously, who did not know that opioids will (this is a guarantee) cause a physiological dependency – IT IS NORMAL. Of course, care and counseling should be exercised in prescribing these medications but they do have a place. Due to all the abuse today you’d be hard-pressed finding a doctor that will properly treat pain without a broken protruding bone or end-stage cancer.

Tolerance can occur with a wide variety of drugs, including opioids . … Physical dependence is a normal physiological response and should be anticipated in patients whose pain disappears and who must then be withdrawn from opioids . To avoid a withdrawal reaction, the opioid dose should be gradually reduced.

As for BigPharma, so who’s surprised, they own Congress/lawmakers. So now ya wanna do something? Gimme a break.

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#4

This is the corporate veil in action.

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#5

So the fact that Purdue marketed their drug Oxycontin as a “safe” (i.e. non-addictive) opiod to the government, physicians and consumers means what? Could it have been they were lying from the start as their corporate records indicate? Or since you claim that the uses and misuses of generic opiods is common knowledge (by whom … consumers? doctors? Purdue Pharma?) , should this pharmaceutical company not have any responsibility in the continued lies they perpetuated throughout the industry through legalized bribery? Or do you honestly feel the responsibility is wholly on the consumer in this situation, who, in your opinion, should have already been privy to this “common opiod knowledge” of potential addiction at their prescribed dosage and thus flat-out rejected their doctor’s medical advice? This is going back to 1996 … well before days of simply googling a topic.

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#6

Hi Lynn1----but Purdue knew almost immediately that their drugs would be a death warrant.
Even after verifying( in internal memos) they knew that death from the drug was making them a lot of money. They knew what the opioids did negatively–but gosh it made so much money… This still goes on–profits before people. Ralph Nader has a group that looks into medicines and safety ----- the rule is, do not any drug that has not been in use for at least 7 years. One of the drugs Vyoxx, or maybe it’s spelled as Vioxx killed people for 7 years before it was pulled. Sad, but true, it appears that so many in the BIG pharma group really do try out their drugs on the human guinea pigs, aka the People.The FDA once used to be something wonderful —but I guess it’s for sale now too.

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#7

So, then, blame the victim? Really?
The Sacklers and their cohorts are guilty of cold-blooded, premeditated (as in first-degree) murder. They should lose every penny of their ill-gotten gains, which should go to those they harmed, and they should spend the rest of their miserable lives in prison.

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#8

Purdue totally marketed Oxycontin as being non addictive, and pushed it aggressively, it was a huge money maker, and they knew from the beginning how addictive it was, you only had to use it for a week to see that. The Purdue executive’s paid huge fines, a drop in the bucket out of the ill gotten gains, they should be jailed, they were drug dealers on a huge scale, responsible for thousands of deaths, families torn apart, and suffering you can’t understand unless you have witnessed it first hand. No one wants to be an addict.

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#9

Nothing short of a credible threat of prison will break this malignant addiction to profit.

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#10

Decriminalize all drugs. Drug problem solves itself:

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#11

Oh fer christ’s sakes, who did not know opioids were not addictive?

If Purdue marketed these opioid pain medications as “non-addictive” then YES, they are at-fault. I suspect this was confused w/not easily abused when using the extended release version of these drugs.

More people die per year in the US from alcohol than from opioids.

In the mid to late '90s after decades of mistreatment of pain (as in no treatment) by doctors the government opened the floodgates to allow for the prescribing of opioids for all types of pain.

However, there is plenty of blame to go around. One can start by looking at the social conditions that helped to create this mess: poverty, lack of opportunity, in addition to health conditions: work injuries, aging (sick) society, lack of health care, etc.

Then there were doctors in some states on the take (FL for one) who were running opioid prescription mills. Who flooded these clinics? Many “patients” that were not in pain but were seeking pain medications.

The people prone to abuse will just move on to the next easily available drug (legal or illegal) and in another 10 or so years the pendulum will swing back to treating people w/pain causing conditions once again.

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#12

Exactly.

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#13

Purdue did not need to re-invent the wheel. Yes, they did promote, like they do all new drugs, new formulations such as Oxycontin. Many of these drugs were 12 hour, extended release, in that one receives the same level of medication for most of the 12 hours, then the next dose is taken. This helps to insure that one does not abuse these drugs by keeping medication levels stable. (Tolerance is another issue.) Abuse begins w/those that crushed and injected these pills. (Like they didn’t know what they were doing, eh?)

These drugs were relatively safe and effective for people that needed these medications and used them as instructed.

I’m not defending Purdue or any pharmaceutical co. All are ripping off the public and causing health care in the US to be as much as 2x+ more expensive than anywhere else in the developed world. However, most pain medications are relatively inexpensive compared to other life-saving drugs that some are forced to go w/out or pay $8,000 or $44,000 a month for.

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#14

Thanks for the article.

This in particular is the reason Portugal has been so successful. Drug addiction isn’t just about drugs:

“Portugal shifted drug control from the Justice Department to the Ministry of Health and instituted a robust public health model for treating hard drug addiction. It also expanded the welfare system in the form of a guaranteed minimum income.”

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#15

How typically American. A person struggling with debt can’t discharge a few thousand dollars of student loans in bankruptcy, but a corporation can discharge potentially billions in liabilities.

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#16

Suggested reading, if you would like to more deeply inform your point of view:

Painkiller, by Barry Meier
Dopesick, by Beth Macy
Chasing the Scream, by Johann Hari
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, by Gabor Mate
Behave, by Robert Sapolsky

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#17

The Corporation was invented so that the Investor class could be shieled from liability for such actions. It does not matter whether or not Purdue goes under. Those people that work for Purdue will lose their jobs but those that invested in Purdue in the past and profited off these deaths will keep their profits.

Would the investor class, that 1 percent , be as willing to invest in such frims and promote their products if they could be held personally liable for all of those deaths?

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#18

Absolutely! But the people wait for paid off judges and politicians to decide … never leading to jail time for any CEO or Rich person. Then all of it is brushed under the rug and another corporation does something worse, and all is for gotten. That’s the way things go down in this screwed up world.

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#19

The part you left out was… We were aware and watched it go down and did nothing to stop it. Now … that’s American!

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#20

Their charter should be revoked and the company liquidated on behalf of its victims.

But there is even more involved, and wiping Perdue out leaves dozens or hundreds of similar felons out there. One of the problems is the way drugs are brought to market without any serious independent testing. Most testing is done by the companies, themselves, or by firms paid by those companies. Another is advertising. (The industry spends more on ads than they do on R&D.) Then there are the bribes to physicians. Still another is the price gouging, even on drugs the companies don’t create but that are handed to them by the NIH and public universities for manufacture and distribution.

The entire industry has been profoundly corrupt for generations. Locking up a few executives in the spa with lace curtains and walls is insufficient. Piss-ant fines are insufficient. Nationalize the whole damn industry. We’re way past enough is enough!

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