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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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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Florida Sues CVS and Walgreens Over Opioids

The state of Florida has announced it is suing Walgreens and CVS, blaming them for the local and national opioid crisis. They say the two retailers, who also happen to be the most significant two pharmacy chains in the US, helped create the crisis by “overselling painkillers” and not taking actions that would help stop the increasing illegal sales once the opioids left the pharmacy. In essence, they are being accused by the government of turning a blind eye to the opioid crisis. The lawsuit isn’t a new lawsuit, but rather an amended lawsuit filed by Attorney General Pam Bondi. The lawsuit also points fingers to Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and several opioid distributors. All of these entities, she says, profited as they willfully turned blind eyes to the addiction epidemic. In Bondi’s press release, she alleges that CVS and Walgreens "played a role in creating the opioid crisis." By failing to halt "suspicious orders of opioids," the two stores then "dispensed unreasonable quantities of opioids from…

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Smaller Pill Packs a Priority for FDA

President Donald Trump is planning on signing bipartisan bill H.R. 6 into law next week. When this happens, the new legislation will be going into effect the week of October 22, according to Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, who recently spoke at a Politico event. The first thing his agency wants to tackle? Creating smaller pill packaging for opioids, in hopes that it will prevent people from abusing their prescriptions for acute pain. The legislation affects Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, and other large opioid manufacturers. It will force them to create new packaging for the drug to accommodate small quantities. The provision is an effort to prevent excess pills from being prescribed. With this policy, doctors may prescribe more limited amounts of pills. This could also prevent people from keeping leftover opioids around. “The first thing that we’re going to do is the blister packs,” Gottlieb said. “Nobody should be getting 30 days for a wisdom tooth extraction,” Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said about the measure. He also said…

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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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