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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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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Prosecutors Says Insys Bribed 5 NYC Doctors to Prescribe Fentanyl

Five New York City doctors allegedly took at least $800,000 from Insys Therapeutics Inc., to prescribe the spray version of fentanyl, a highly addictive opioid that has been known to cause overdose deaths across the country. According to a 75-page indictment that the Manhattan federal court released on Friday, all the defendants pleaded not-guilty to the charges, which included conspiracy to describe the efforts to overprescribe the medication. The doctors had been “working” for the company's 'Speakers Bureau' for four years starting back in 2012. However, their positions were a way to hide the fact that the “speech” part of the job description was a farce. According to the New York Times, Insys paid more than $100,000 annually to at least two of the doctors. The indictment also says that Insys funneled the illegal payments to the doctors through a sham “speakers bureau.” As members of the bureau, doctors were paid for giving educational presentations. The events were sparsely-attended, and usually by doctors who were well-versed in the main…

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Who Should Pay for Prescription Drug Disposal?

Government drug experts have found that many teenagers and adults who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from people they know with prescriptions or steal them from the medicine cabinets of family and friends. Starting in 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has held a series of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days to encourage Americans to safely dispose of unused and unwanted prescription medications. More than 5600 take-back sites have been established, covering all 50 states. The Take-Back program has removed a total of 775 tons of medication from circulation, avoiding the chances of diversion and abuse.   The National Prescription Drug Take-Back program has been so effective that some local jurisdictions have established their own drug drop-off programs. In Alameda County in Northern California, 28 publicly-funded drop locations are available year round for residents to dispose of prescription drugs. Besides keeping prescription drugs out of the hands of people who may abuse them, drug disposal programs like the one in Alameda County protect the environment by keeping drugs out…

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