Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, October 28, 2017

The New Yorker: The Sackler dynasty's ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars -- and millions of addicts. According to Forbes, the Sacklers are now one of America's richest families, with a collective net worth of thirteen billion dollars -- more than the Rockefellers or the Mellons. The bulk of the Sacklers' fortune has been accumulated only in recent decades, yet the source of their wealth is to most people as obscure as that of the robber barons. While the Sacklers are interviewed regularly on the subject of their generosity, they almost never speak publicly about the family business, Purdue Pharma -- a privately held company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, that developed the prescription painkiller OxyContin. Upon its release, in 1995, OxyContin was hailed as a medical breakthrough, a long-lasting narcotic that could help patients suffering from moderate to severe pain.

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The drug became a blockbuster, and has reportedly generated some thirty-five billion dollars in revenue for Purdue. But OxyContin is a controversial drug. Its sole active ingredient is oxycodone, a chemical cousin of heroin which is up to twice as powerful as morphine.

In the past, doctors had been reluctant to prescribe strong opioids -- as synthetic drugs derived from opium are known -- except for acute cancer pain and end-of-life palliative care, because of a long-standing, and well-founded, fear about the addictive properties of these drugs.

"Few drugs are as dangerous as the opioids," David Kessler, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told me.

Purdue launched OxyContin with a marketing campaign that attempted to counter this attitude and change the prescribing habits of doctors.

The company funded research and paid doctors to make the case that concerns about opioid addiction were overblown, and that OxyContin could safely treat an ever-wider range of maladies.

Sales representatives marketed OxyContin as a product "to start with and to stay with." Millions of patients found the drug to be a vital salve for excruciating pain. But many others grew so hooked on it that, between doses, they experienced debilitating withdrawal.

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Per the article ...

Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative, at Brandeis University, has worked with hundreds of patients addicted to opioids.

He told me that, though many fatal overdoses have resulted from opioids other than OxyContin, the crisis was initially precipitated by a shift in the culture of prescribing -- a shift carefully engineered by Purdue.

"If you look at the prescribing trends for all the different opioids, it's in 1996 that prescribing really takes off," Kolodny said.

"It's not a coincidence. That was the year Purdue launched a multifaceted campaign that misinformed the medical community about the risks."

When I asked Kolodny how much of the blame Purdue bears for the current public-health crisis, he responded, "The lion's share."


Making planet-Jupiter-sized-obscene amounts of money off pain and misery that harms people by turning them into drug-addicts is pretty despicable.

#1 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-27 04:31 PM | Reply

In Dr. Ken Kizer's Top Ten Reasons why healthcare costs continue to to rise, he mentions why Big Pharma's increased its spending of direct to consumer advertising, going from $11 billion in 1999 to $29 billion in 2005 -- "it works".

www.youtube.com
[17:19 thru 17:44 mark]

• Population growth and aging
• Uncontrolled proliferation of technology
• Increasing chronic care demands
• Direct to consumer marketing of healthcare products and services
• Restriction of managed care practices
• Legislative healthcare mandates
• Consolidation of healthcare providers
• Rising liability insurance costs
• Excessive demand ("Consumptive Society")
• Care variation from best evidence (i.e. poor quality)

This is why when people try and talk healthcare, it has to always be tied back to the original problems that are explained by the experts like Dr. Kizer.

#2 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-27 04:49 PM | Reply

This was posted yesterday too, but can't be posted enough.

Congress is complicit in this criminal activity.

#3 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-10-27 04:51 PM | Reply

# 3

Yeah, I just saw Ablock's post, crap ~ But my thread has a cool short video about heroin addiction. Oh well.

Totally agree about these bastards and the government that allows these things to happen, all for the sake of money -- and the hell with real people who suffer with pain and then become addicted.

#4 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-27 04:55 PM | Reply

seriously, they kidnapped people made them addicts and then released them without rehab benefits?

yeah...right. END DRUG PROHIBITION.

#5 | Posted by ichiro at 2017-10-27 06:15 PM | Reply

LOCK THEM UP! ....and take away their ill gotten fortune.

#6 | Posted by aborted_monson at 2017-10-28 06:38 PM | Reply

Front page of the mighty DR -- woot, Woot, WOOT !!!

#7 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-28 06:52 PM | Reply

Almost All U.S. Doctors Are Overprescribing Narcotic Painkillers, Research Suggests
www.health.com

When American doctors give their patients narcotic painkillers, 99 percent of them hand out prescriptions that exceed the federally recommended three-day dosage limit, new research suggests.

And some doctors exceeded that limit by a lot: Nearly one-quarter gave out month-long dosages, despite the fact that research has shown that a month's use of prescription narcotic painkillers can cause brain changes, the National Safety Council survey found.

"Opioids do not kill pain. They kill people," Dr. Donald Teater, a medical advisor at the safety council, said in a news release.

"Doctors are well-intentioned and want to help their patients, but these findings are further proof that we need more education and training if we want to treat pain most effectively."

The problem has reached the point where these highly addictive painkillers, which include commonly prescribed drugs such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin, now account for more drug overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined, according to the report.

Unfortunately, the survey further revealed that while almost 85 percent of doctors screen for signs of prior narcotic painkiller abuse, just one-third ask about a family history of addiction.

Only 5 percent offer direct help to patients when signs of abuse are uncovered, and less than 40 percent refer such patients for treatment elsewhere, the survey found.


The Sackler Family obviously saw an opportunity to exploit the lack of doctor accountability within the overall dis-jointed and dysfunctional US healthcare system -- making billions of dollars in the process.

#8 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-28 07:18 PM | Reply

The doctors and patients have no responsibility? But the manufacturer does?? Lol.
Thread sucks.

#9 | Posted by homerj at 2017-10-28 07:39 PM | Reply

The doctors and patients have no responsibility? But the manufacturer does?? Lol.
Thread sucks.

#9 | POSTED BY HOMERJ

Doctors get there clinical decisions right only 55% of the time per the 2003 Rand Study ... www.rand.org ... that's still being cited today by healthcare experts like Dr. Ken Kizer in post #2.

The reputable link in post #8 corroborates the 2003 Rand Study.

Doctors struggling to make the correct clinical decisions INCLUDES when to prescribe painkillers -- not hard to understand.

#10 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-28 07:55 PM | Reply

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Another billionaire founder of Insys, John Kapoor was arrested Thursday and facing charges for bribing doctors to prescribe Subsys, a powerful fentanyl-based pain medication designed for terminal cancer patients in severe pain. Most of the scripts were for patients who do not have cancer. Many of the Doctors have already been convicted, as prosecutors work their way up the power and money pyramid.

#11 | Posted by bayviking at 2017-10-28 08:38 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Trump claimed that the opioid crisis "is a worldwide problem." More BS. Throughout Europe and other regions where opioids are readily available, people are not dying at comparable rates as those in the U.S., largely because addiction is treated not as a crime but as a public health problem.

One can die from an overdose of an opioid alone, but this accounts for a minority of the thousands of opioid-related deaths. Many are caused when people combine an opioid with another sedative, such as alcohol, an antihistamine such as promethazine or a benzodiazepine such as Xanax or Klonopin. People are not dying because of opioids; they are dying because of ignorance. Contamination with fentynal is especially dangerous.

One simple solution is to offer free, anonymous drug-purity testing services.

www.scientificamerican.com

#12 | Posted by bayviking at 2017-10-29 07:15 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

Per BayViking's link in post #12 ...

In many countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, opioid treatment may include daily injections of heroin, just as a diabetic may receive daily insulin injections, along with treating the patient's medical and psychosocial issues.

These patients hold jobs, pay taxes and live long, healthy, productive lives. Yet in the U.S., such programs are not even discussed.

For about 20 years, the number of Americans who have tried heroin for the first time has been relatively stable.

Heroin use specifically and opioid use in general are not going anywhere, whether we like it or not. This is not an endorsement of drug use but rather a realistic appraisal of the empirical evidence.

Addressing the opioid crisis with ignorant comments from political figures and the inappropriate use of public funds do little to ensure users' safety.

Perhaps, for once, we should try interventions that are informed by science and proven to work.


Americans consume 80% of the world's opioids, so when d-bag politicians like Trump bloviate nonsense it can assured that they're not serious about fixing the problem.

#13 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-29 07:59 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Perhaps, for once, we should try interventions that are informed by science and proven to work.

"Conservatives" don't like science, because things can be proved or disproved. They operate on "beliefs", which, of course, cannot be proved or disproved (try proving God does or does not exist). This makes their followers depend on them for all the answers (very conveniently). This has been going on since the invention of religion.

#14 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2017-10-29 08:52 AM | Reply

Pinch,

I take opiods and have for years due to MS. It is not the "best" drug but the low does side effects are better than the "good" drugs. The cost is much more reasonable as well. I don't deny that at this point I am addicted to them but because my doctor and I have tried very hard to regulate use I am still only on 5 5mg a day. So I could get off them with a bit of work, I don't want to at this point (hey addiction) but it could be done.

Every time politicians start talking about the opioid crisis I get worried because without fail each time it means it will be harder for me to get and my doctor will be more reluctant to work with me. The last change almost made him send me to a pain clinic. I work 50+ hours a week most weeks, taking time off work to go to a pain clinic once a month is not an option. Heck just the time to run by his office and pick up a script is tough to come by but I have to have a paper script for a monthly refill and he can't give me more than 1 month at a time.

Not sure what they can or will do to make it harder but if they make me go to a pain clinic then I will have to go off it. Not saying that as a bad thing but I question my ability to work without it. MS for me is not as horrible a disease as it could be but good luck finding any other 12 year MS patient working a physical job 50+ hours a week. Opiates are part of that equation like it or not.

Your #13 nailed it instead of just making patients work harder to get their meds, jail sentences longer and law enforcement more aggressive politicians need to work with doctors, patients and pharmacies to find out how to better manage it not just outlaw it.

Good luck with that though, even though there are millions in savings on the line the savings won't go to the people who buy politicians.

#15 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2017-10-29 09:28 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

To Tao's point, there are many legitimate uses for opioids and we should avoid another prohibition. They are critical to recovery from many major surgeries. I was on them for 90 days and experienced no withdrawal symptoms. Only 3% of users ever become addicts.

#16 | Posted by bayviking at 2017-10-29 11:05 AM | Reply

Pinch,

I take opiods and have for years due to MS. It is not the "best" drug but the low does side effects are better than the "good" drugs. The cost is much more reasonable as well. I don't deny that at this point I am addicted to them but because my doctor and I have tried very hard to regulate use I am still only on 5 5mg a day. So I could get off them with a bit of work, I don't want to at this point (hey addiction) but it could be done.

Every time politicians start talking about the opioid crisis I get worried because without fail each time it means it will be harder for me to get and my doctor will be more reluctant to work with me. The last change almost made him send me to a pain clinic. I work 50+ hours a week most weeks, taking time off work to go to a pain clinic once a month is not an option. Heck just the time to run by his office and pick up a script is tough to come by but I have to have a paper script for a monthly refill and he can't give me more than 1 month at a time.

Not sure what they can or will do to make it harder but if they make me go to a pain clinic then I will have to go off it. Not saying that as a bad thing but I question my ability to work without it. MS for me is not as horrible a disease as it could be but good luck finding any other 12 year MS patient working a physical job 50+ hours a week. Opiates are part of that equation like it or not.

Your #13 nailed it instead of just making patients work harder to get their meds, jail sentences longer and law enforcement more aggressive politicians need to work with doctors, patients and pharmacies to find out how to better manage it not just outlaw it.

Good luck with that though, even though there are millions in savings on the line the savings won't go to the people who buy politicians.

#15 | POSTED BY TAOWARRIOR

I'm sorry that you have to deal with MS. And while I constantly remind people about all the waste in healthcare and that root cause of that waste are doctors (as a whole) struggling to get their clinic decisions right at the bedside and in their doctor's offices, I am most definitely not anti-doctor -- in case I come across that way.

I agree with you and BayViking that the solution involves physician-led input combined with new approaches and real political leadership/courage/no-jackass-ery to ensure that patients with legitimate clinical reasons (like yourself) for prescription painkillers don't get harmed in the process of fixing this problem.

The Hippocratic Oath, 'First, Do No Harm' -- still applies, and will always apply.

Am I optimistic that Trump get's it? Not really, but I supposed there's always a chance ~

#17 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-29 12:01 PM | Reply

Tao I'm kind of surprised you don't just move to where pot is legal. But I have not kept up with your situation.

#18 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-10-29 02:25 PM | Reply

#18

I have thought about it. However 3 kids adds complications to moving (changing schools losing friends etc.) Also My M-I-L was blind and disabled and dependent on us. Moving would have required moving her which she refused to do. She passed away about a year ago though so yeah the thought has run through my head since then.

I keep hoping my state will change, in a lot of ways we are one of the most liberal southern states. Unfortunately since a scary black man because president we have swung so hard the other direction I just don't know. Legal or Medicinal Marijuana gets introduced every congressional session and gets buried in committee every time. Maybe the recent lawsuit about gerrymandering will give us better state government but I doubt it.

Once the last kid graduates from college (we have excellent in state schools) if things haven't changed I'll probably move, but that is a decade away and I don't see the reactionaries holding out that long. However I'm white upper middle class, unless I'm an idiot about it weed is basically legal for me now, the only big advantage to legal weed would be my ability to use more frequently and availability of edibles.

#19 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2017-10-29 03:29 PM | Reply

@ Tao

The medical community is taking medical pot seriously ... maybe not fast enough, but there is movement in the right direction ...

University of Hawaii to host first medical cannabis symposium
www.bizjournals.com

The event will feature a panel of practicing physicians who have written medical marijuana recommendation letters.

Wonder what they do when the break for lunch, listen to Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic' and munch out?

#20 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-29 04:40 PM | Reply

Well MS is already on the list as things MMJ helps. I can't wait for more research to be done though. One big thing I have found from marijuana and MS is it slows progression. There are absolutely no studies on this but the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties of marijuana are already well known and since those are both needed for slowing MS it makes sense.

Anecdotally I quit smoking for 2 years for several reasons and my presentation got steadily worse. I was still on DMD drugs and Gabapentin and Klonopin and opiates but got slowly worse. About a year and half to two years ago I started smoking again and I haven't had a relapse since. I have dropped both Gabapentin and Klonopin and my opiate use has stabilized. I am also back to working full time plus.

I have been in contact with NORML and have offered to testify before my state legislature should MMJ ever get out of committee. I would love for some serious research to be done on it and I am confident that if it could be done marijuana would be legal for at least medical use everywhere in the US. The early research and anecdotes are pretty compelling already.

#21 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2017-10-29 05:40 PM | Reply

Simple, just pull the opioids off the market and to hell with those who really need it - problem solved [satire for those of you ,on the left, who never 'get it']

#22 | Posted by MSgt at 2017-10-29 06:57 PM | Reply

"problem solved [satire for those of you ,on the left, who never 'get it']"

Yeah, cuz when it comes to humor righties are so much better at it than lefties. Hilarious! Is there a single funny rightie? Who? I've never heard of him or her. The right simply can't do funny.

#23 | Posted by danni at 2017-10-30 06:51 AM | Reply

Sometime reality may strike the majority. I consider drug abuse another example of natural selection. The stupid die sooner. Fact is everyone knows that narcotics are addictive. Everyone knows that an overdose of narcotics will kill. No excuses, no sympathy, no special consideration, every individual has a simple responsibility. Know what you are consuming, and know what will happen if you continue. I have been offered tabs or oxy for chronic pain, and I am sill narcotic free. Life has pain, you can not escape it. The escape offer by pills has a cost. That cost is very high. Hell, legalize all of them, morality will eliminate the problem by and by. Rehab is a joke. The only power that will actually work is when the individual chooses to do what is in their own interest. There is no degree in a junky, ether you are or you are not. I don't care if the junky is a street creature, wears a suit and tie or is a soccer mom, the number one thing in their life is the next high.

#24 | Posted by docnjo at 2017-10-30 03:47 PM | Reply

"I consider drug abuse another example of natural selection."

A statement that shows you know next to nothing about drug abuse or natural selection.

"Know what you are consuming"

It's very difficult to know what you are actually consuming when you buy drugs on the black market.

"Hell, legalize all of them, morality will eliminate the problem by and by."

So you're in favor of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs???

#25 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-10-30 04:38 PM | Reply

I don't care if the junky is a street creature, wears a suit and tie or is a soccer mom, the number one thing in their life is the next high.

You don't know half what you think you know.

Life has pain, you can not escape it.

No you can't but you can knock it down to a dull roar so you can work through it. Pain is my constant companion I could take higher doses and get rid of it but all I am after is the ability to support my family. There is a cost sure but to take care of my family it's one I'll gladly pay.

"Hell, legalize all of them, morality will eliminate the problem by and by."

Sounds like a plan then I won't have to get a paper script then go to the pharmacy and wait 30 min. once a month. I could get it the same way I get weed, delivery service. Free market baby.

#26 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2017-10-30 07:28 PM | Reply

Congress is complicit in this criminal activity.

#3 | Posted by SheepleSchism

So is anyone defending trump, who tried to appoint an opiate lobbyist to fight the opiate crisis.

#27 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-10-30 07:41 PM | Reply

Sometime reality may strike the majority. I consider drug abuse another example of natural selection. The stupid die sooner. Fact is everyone knows that narcotics are addictive. Everyone knows that an overdose of narcotics will kill. No excuses, no sympathy, no special consideration, every individual has a simple responsibility. Know what you are consuming, and know what will happen if you continue. I have been offered tabs or oxy for chronic pain, and I am sill narcotic free. Life has pain, you can not escape it. The escape offer by pills has a cost. That cost is very high. Hell, legalize all of them, morality will eliminate the problem by and by. Rehab is a joke. The only power that will actually work is when the individual chooses to do what is in their own interest. There is no degree in a junky, ether you are or you are not. I don't care if the junky is a street creature, wears a suit and tie or is a soccer mom, the number one thing in their life is the next high.

#24 | Posted by docnjo

Fine, so let's apply that to sugar too.

If we're going to cut off help to those who get addicted to heroin, then we should also cut off all those red state -------- from health care because they're addicted to sugar.

#28 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-10-30 07:43 PM | Reply

Addiction is addiction no mater what the substance. Alcohol for most, crank for the red states, heroin for the blue states. The big difference between you snowflakes and my self is I dealt with the loosers for years. I have heard all the excuses. The funny thing is the addict is not the one suffering. Their family does, much more. What do we do with junkies? Make them coolie labor perhaps.Most countries do. I got out of the business of trying to help rehabilitate junkies in 1981. I began working at something that was actually productive, I became a mechanic. The pay was better and not nearly as heartbreaking.
#27 | Posted by SpeakSoftly,,Hell you could blame Clinton, both Bushes and Obama too. The narcotic use had been mushrooming for the last 25 years.
#28 |Please watch/help someone go through withdraws from alcohol or narcotics, then tell me that sugar is comparatively addictive.

#29 | Posted by docnjo at 2017-10-31 11:23 AM | Reply

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