Painkiller Advocacy Group has Ties to Drugmakers

The American Pain Foundation (APF) describes itself as an advocacy organization for patient pain relief. The non-profit foundation promotes the message that the threat of addiction to prescription painkillers has been exaggerated and pain medication is underused. A non-profit news organization named ProPublica has investigated the American Pain Foundation and found that almost 90% of the group's $5 million in funding in 2010 came from pharmaceutical companies. One of these companies is Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin. The views promoted by APF are in contrast to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that more than 15,000 people die each year from overdoses of opioid painkillers like OxyContin. The CDC has called the painkiller situation an epidemic and a growing group of experts question the effectiveness of these drugs. Although Will Rowe, chief executive of the APF, has stated that the chief interest of the group is in helping people who are affected by pain, several board members have financial ties to drug manufacturers. The foundation has…

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Purdue Pharma Executives Fight OxyContin Sentence

In a time of upheaval in our society, this case could be seen as an opportunity for our judicial system to "walk the talk" of our Government's recent claims to be enforcing Corporate Responsibility. In 2007, three top executives at Purdue Pharma (maker of OxyContin) were criminally charged for their role in the marketing of the addictive narcotic painkiller.  The executives were each convicted of a criminal misdemeanor under a somewhat obscure law known as the "responsible corporate officer" doctrine and could have faced a year in prison.  Instead, former CEO Michael Friedman, former medical director Paul Goldenheim and former general counsel Howard Udell agreed to deals that included three years of probation and fines totaling $34.5 million.   As part of their plea bargain, the Purdue Pharma trio also agreed to a sanction prohibiting them from doing business with Medicare and other taxpayer-funded healthcare programs for 20 years.  This sanction effectively bars them from working in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.  Following legal maneuvering by lawyers for the…

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Meet the New Killer – Same as the Old Killer

Obituary writers, morticians, crime scene detectives and the like should familiarize themselves with this phrase: "death was caused by fatal overdose of OxyNEO." Purdue Pharma has shown what a powerful marketing strategy team you can hire when you profit mightily off of destroying thousands of families by marketing a drug like OxyContin a.ka. "legal heroin". The latest ploy the PR wizards at Purdue Pharma have announced is the discontinuation of OxyContin in 2012 and the launch of OxyNEO. Hmm, wonder if this will fool anyone as the drug continues to be abused and cause addiction and overdose well into the future. We have been covering the destructive swath OxyContin has carved through the heartland of America including reporting on Purdue Pharma's halfhearted attempts to minimize the damage by releasing sticky OxyContin that was supposedly harder to abuse (but still just as easy to abuse by taking it orally - which is why the new formulation of OxyContin was not met with much enthusiasm). Here are some fast facts about…

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