Fake Oxycontin is Killing People

Fake Oxycontin is a big trend on the streets in America, and investigators in Minnesota say they're the cause of fatal overdoses. Usually, they're laced with fentanyl, which can be fifty to a hundred times as potent than morphine. Fake But Deadly In St. Cloud, Minnesota, a recent overdose came from fentanyl marketed on the street as Oxycontin. Some fentanyl has also been passed off to be Oxycodone or Percocet. It's a nationwide trend in recent months, as drug traffic has stalled at the border during a national pandemic. The pills are made to look like the real pill, although some have a blueish tint to them. One side of the tablet is blue with the "M" stamped on one side and "30" stamped on the other. Last month, a Sacramento resident was caught with over 1,000 pills of what appeared to be Oxycontin. When tested, fentanyl came up positive. The sheriff said that there had been 14 documented Fentanyl overdose deaths in Placer County since January. It's suspected…

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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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Death Certificate Project Charges 9 CA Doctors With Opioid Overprescribing

In California, nine doctors have been charged with overprescribing opioids along with other violations after a years-long investigation into their prescribing habits by a controversial state project. Dubbed the “Death Certificate Project,” the state scans death certificates to find people whose death was caused by prescription drugs such as opioids or benzos. The state then finds out what doctors prescribed a controlled substance to that patient within three years of death. (The doctors may not have been the current provider of prescriptions at the time of death, however.) After implementing the highly controversial “Death Certificate Project,” California officials have charged nine doctors with overprescribing opioids. The state's prescription drug database, CURES (California Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System), flagged the doctors for investigation alongside hundreds of their peers who were presumably cleared from trouble. In the complaints, the Project’s complaints cite "gross negligence," "furnishing dangerous drugs without examination," "unprofessional conduct," and "inadequate record keeping." Several of the doctors under investigation didn’t use the state's prescription database, CURES. While…

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Oxycontin Manufacturer Helped Write the Laws it Claims Justify Marketing

Mired in lawsuits, Oxycontin manufacturer Perdue Pharma is quick to deflect blame when it comes to the opioid crisis. Marketing tactics such as paying doctors to do little more than discuss the drug with their colleagues and pushing the drug to ER physicians were all legal, according to the company. But is this reality, or are these the pleadings of a company that is watching its ship sink? The truth is more complicated than that; it turns out. The FDA and Purdue Pharma have a close relationship, although until recently, the FDA may not have realized it. Purdue Pharma operatives were consulted when the FDA created policies that affect the entire nation, often getting the government agency to agree to policies and procedures that limit the manufacturer’s liability. However, the FDA officials didn’t realize that Perdue was paying the people they were consulting with to continue promoting Oxycontin. These operatives were the people consulted when the FDA refused to put limits on how doctors prescribe Oxycontin, meaning that doctors…

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