Does the Dental Industry Has an Opioid Script Problem?

Recent studies show that the dental industry in America may be an essential link in the addiction crisis, with nearly half of dental prescriptions exceeding prescription guidelines for acute pain management. The research, published today in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, covered a five-year study period of dental prescriptions. What Do the Numbers Say? Dentists are a vital component in addiction prevention that has often been overlooked in research studies. However, the dental industry is responsible for 10% of all opioid prescriptions in the United States. Yet, in three out of ten prescriptions, dentists prescribed a more powerful opioid than necessary following painful procedures. And the prescriptions were typically for longer than three days, which is the current opioid prescription guideline for acute surgery pain. For the study, the researchers analyzed data on nearly 550,000 dental visits by adult patients between 2011 and 2015. "Dental procedures like extractions can leave patients with a lot of pain that needs to be managed, and many dentists are doing a wonderful…

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FDA Studies On Opioid Education Were Flawed

Studies on doctor education in the opioid epidemic were flawed, and hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. And although the FDA has lobbied heavy criticism and the pharmaceutical industry has paid fines, they are not without blame. They took years to investigate the makers and distributors of Oxycontin. Instead of protecting consumers, the federal agency instead left its own bumbling paper trail for opioid education oversight, according to a New York Times report. The FDA, documents reveal, did little to stop overprescribing and, in fact, created a study that failed to be accurate by design, according to Caleb Alexander, the senior author of the study. “It’s unclear why the FDA didn’t insist upon a more scientifically rigorous evaluation of this safety program.” This means that it's unclear if any studies were correct. What Studies Were Done on the Safety Programs? In 2007, Congress gave the FDA authority to require drug manufacturers to train physicians to safely prescribe certain dangerous drugs, such as opioids and other addictive painkillers. The bill…

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Oxycontin Makers Sink Claws Into China

A report has come out detailing the marketing moves that Purdue Pharma, the drugmaker responsible for Oxycontin and other variations of opioid, has moved on to China. Of course, it’s no big secret that companies like food and pharmaceutical makers take their wares overseas to new markets. What’s unusual about Purdue’s business moves is that the behavior that cost billions of dollars in US lawsuits is now being deployed in China. Boosting Sales and Breaking Laws in China Stat News claims that when sales began to crash due to the opioid crisis, the Sacklers and their subsidiaries set their eyes on the global market. In China, Purdue’s international pharma dealer, Mundipharma, pushed for profits over ethics without fail. While the profit scheme unraveled very publicly in the US courts, quietly, Purdue Pharma began marketing elsewhere. Current and former employees told the Associated Press about the stunts they pulled to sell more Oxycontin and other drugs. The reps described how managers tried to boost profits by prying into the patient’s…

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Purdue Pharma in Planning to Settle Lawsuits with 10-12 Billion USD

Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical giant that makes OxyContin, and its owners, the wealthy Sackler family, are in talks to settle over 2,000 lawsuits aimed at the company for the opioid crisis. Preliminary discussions are in the range of $10 billion to $12 billion. Which Lawsuits Are Involved? The 2,000 lawsuits stem from cities, counties, and states that have suffered from the opioid crisis for years. The current suit in which settlement talks are being made is in Ohio. The pharmaceutical company wants to consolidate the lawsuits and have the affected parties decide who gets what in terms of settlement talks. The lawsuit payouts are part of confidential conversations and discussed by Purdue's lawyers at a meeting in Cleveland last Tuesday, Aug. 20, according to NBC news. What Are the Lawsuits About? The lawsuits point blame to Perdue Pharma and the Sackler family ignoring the harmful prospects of addiction, downplaying the addictiveness of their drug to doctors, and encouraging the doctors to increase prescriptions for their medications. Purdue Pharma and…

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Did Abuse-Deterrent Oxy Work? Purdue Won’t Say

In 2010, a reformulated version of Oxycontin was released. The pharma giant, Perdue Pharma, said the new formula would help deter abuse. The new version of the pill couldn't be crushed, snorted or smoked. This change was expected to make it more difficult for drug abusers to misuse it. It’s been nine years since the different drug formula went into effect, and neither the government nor Purdue Pharma will release information to the public on results. “We asked for that data probably 40 or 50 times in last four or five years and were denied every time,” Dr. Raeford Brown, whose term as an FDA adviser ended last March, recently told the Washington Post. The committee she served on is still waiting to get the numbers from either the FDA or Purdue. New Oxy Formula May Have Caused Other Public Health Crises A study earlier this year by the RAND Corporation think tank showed that heroin use, overdoses, and overdose deaths skyrocketed when Oxycontin usage started to dip. When…

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Italy Starts its Own Oxycontin Probe

In Italy, a peculiar rise in opioid prescriptions brought suspicion against Perdue Pharmaceuticals and a doctor named Guido Fanelli. Authorities began to suspect a conspiracy among a group of pharmaceutical executives police nicknamed “The Pain League.” Used to fighting corruption and the inner workings of criminal cases such as mob bosses, authorities sought to find culpability within Mundipharma — the international arm of Purdue Pharma. They began an investigation using wiretaps and subpoenas to follow the money. Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, faces over 2,000 lawsuits in the United States over its role in the opioid crisis. This case is the first known case outside the U.S., where executives and employees of Perdue are criminally charged and implicated. While the opioid epidemic has cost fewer lives in Italy, the criminal intent, prosecutors say, is clear. Making Money Promoting Opioids According to the investigative file, 464,000 euros from Mundipharma, and 640,855 euros from Grunenthal (about $700,000) flowed into businesses Fanelli allegedly set up to hide the payments, beginning in…

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Drug Distributor McKesson Settles WV Opioid Lawsuit

McKesson, a drug distribution giant, has decided to settle a lawsuit in West Virginia with a 37 million dollar settlement. The company paid $14.5 million upon settling and will pay another $4.5 million a year for the next five years. About the Lawsuit The original lawsuit accused the drug distributor of turning a willfully blind eye to suspicious behavior. Many opioid distributors have been charged with ignoring abnormally large orders, such as massive amounts of pills sent to different pharmacies across the state repeatedly. When irregularities were noted, the company did nothing to investigate. As part of the settlement, McKesson did not have to admit any wrongdoings. McKesson’s Ongoing Trouble This lawsuit is not the company’s first lawsuit for its practices regarding opioids. In 2017, the McKesson paid $150 million in penalties. They were forced to suspend sales of opioids in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, and Florida after being accused of violating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). McKesson agreed with the federal government to make “improvements” to its system. Alongside…

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Protesters Deliver Outgoing FDA Commissioner an 800lb “Heroin Spoon”

Protestors descended on the FDA today to mark the end of Scott Gottlieb's tenure with the delivery of a large “heroin spoon” sculpture stamped with the FDA’s logo. Activists say they are angry that the outgoing commissioner rubber-stamped Dsuvia, an incredibly powerful opioid that is meant for surgeries and late-term terminal cancer. The group of activists urged the FDA to stop approving “dangerous” opioids and to focus on more ideas for medication-assisted treatment and other drugs to help treat addiction. Dsuvia is a sublingual formulation of sufentanil, which is 500 times as powerful as morphine. The drugmaker says that the drug was created for the management of acute pain in adults in medically supervised healthcare settings. Activists and addiction specialist believe that the drug will eventually make it onto the street, causing overdose deaths, just like fentanyl. Fentanyl was developed mostly for surgical settings but after a few years began to be prescribed off-label for chronic pain, causing addiction or dependence in its patients. AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, says that the…

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In Delaware, 3000 People Run 5K to Raise Awareness of Addiction

More than 3,000 people rallied, ran and walked in Old New Castle, Delaware last Saturday morning to raise awareness for what organizers say is the public health crisis of this generation. Family members, friends, and people in recovery ran the annual atTAcK Addiction "Erase the Stigma 5K" is an event that attracts people personally affected by addiction. The annual race was started by parents who lost (or almost lost) their children to opioid overdose. They bonded and created a nonprofit to combat opioid abuse and addiction in Delaware. Their grassroots nonprofit helps to educate people about addiction in the community. They have a special high school just for students in recovery from addiction and they also provide addiction-related services such as support groups. AtTAcK Addiction provides services directly to people who are looking for safe sober housing. Their 5K has come to serve as a rallying moment for families new to recovery. They also provide comfort for people who have lost loved ones to overdose and want to make sure…

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How Sackler Family, Purdue Pharma Targeted Veterans

In Massachusetts, veterans are three times more likely than others who take prescription painkillers to die from an overdose. A new court filing in an ongoing lawsuit between the state and the pharmaceutical company and its stakeholders says that this statistic may have been by design. Discovery in a Massachusetts lawsuit against the private company Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, and their stakeholders, the infamous Sackler family, has uncovered documents that appear to show how they specifically developed a marketing campaign to target veterans for Oxycontin sales, hoping to increase their usage dramatically. The unredacted complaint filed against the pharmaceutical manufacturer, as well as a total of eight members of the Sackler family, unveils a targeted marketing campaign facilitated through a self-help book for service members. Similar to an infomercial, the “survival guide” targeted newly home veterans, telling them if they were in pain, they should request opioid prescriptions. The “guide” assured readers that the pills were non-addictive unless substance abuse ran in the family. The lawsuit says…

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