Right now I have a relative in a rehab facility trying to get clean. He's been using since he was 14 years old and it's going to be a difficult road ahead for him. His drug of choice was one of the most powerful addictive substances this nation has seen in the past few decades, and it wasn't made in a field in Colombia or Nicaragua or Afghanistan. It was processed in a lab and placed into a small white pillbox.
He was hooked on OxyContin.
Yesterday Purdue Frederick Co., makers of the painkiller, finally admitted in federal court, after years of obfuscation and lies, that they intentionally deceived the public and hid the warnings about the addictive properties of OxyContin. They settled with a $635 million dollar lump-sum payment (They made nearly $10 billion in sales off of OxyContin this decade, so it's money well spent).
"Even in the face of warnings from health-care professionals, the media and members of its own sales force . . . Purdue continued to push a fraudulent marketing campaign," U.S. Attorney John L. Brownlee said.
The drugmaker knew as early as 1995 that health professionals feared the addictive potential of OxyContin, an opium derivative, but looked the other way, according to court papers. From 1996 to 2001, Purdue claimed that the "miracle drug" was safer than rival medications despite repeated studies that suggested patients had developed a risk of abuse and had serious trouble withdrawing from OxyContin. Purdue collected $2.8 billion through sales of OxyContin during that time, court papers said.
In one instance, supervisors decided against sharing information about difficult OxyContin withdrawal out of fear that it would "add to the current negative press," according to documents presented in an Abingdon, Va., courtroom yesterday.
"Purdue put its desire to sell OxyContin above the interests of the public," Assistant U.S. Attorney General Peter D. Keisler said.
The makers claimed for years that their pill was time-released, and could therefore never be manipulated to create an overwhelming high. Turns out you could bite down on the capsule and crush it in about two seconds, freeing the drug and eliminating the time-release method. The drug became an epidemic, particularly in the Southeast. Doctor's offices and pharmacies were being robbed with regularity. Corrupt physicians were writing prescriptions for kickbacks. Hundreds of users died and tens of thousands more became hopelessly addicted.
And there's another thing you should know, maybe the next time you go down to your primary election polling place and take a look at the candidates for the Republican nomination.
Since 2002, Purdue has been a client of Giuliani Partners, the consulting firm headed by former New York City mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani. Giuliani, who was one of Purdue's lawyers in the case through his law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, met with government lawyers more than half a dozen times and helped strike an agreement in principle to settle the case in October, people involved in the case said.
That's right. Rudy Giuliani has been defending these scumbags for 5 long years, stalling and stonewalling and trying to minimize the penalty for ruining untold numbers of lives. In addition, Giuliani was using his political contacts to try and get DEA tointervene on behalf of his client:
Drug Enforcement Administration officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com Giuliani personally met with the head of the DEA when the DEA's drug diversion office began a criminal investigation into the company.
According to the book "Painkiller," by New York Times reporter Barry Meier, both Giuliani and his then-partner Bernard Kerik "were in direct contact with Asa Hutchinson, the administrator of DEA."
Hutchinson told the Blotter on ABCNews.com today that Giuliani asked for a meeting, "and we gave him a meeting." Hutchinson says he was aware the company was under investigation at the time, and "any time a company is under investigation I like to give them a chance to make their case."
Kerik told New York Magazine at the time that Giuliani had raised $15,000 in donations for a "traveling museum operated by the DEA."
Some officials told ABC News there were questions inside the agency of whether the donations were an attempt to influence the DEA.
Giuliani successfully slowed this investigation for five years, while Purdue Frederick continued to profit off of addiction. This is no different than defending Pablo Escobar IMO. And by the way, this is supposed to be Mr. Law and Order hardass Rudy Giuliani? Oxy is a magnet for lawlessness. Like many drugs, it's progressively more difficult to maintain the same high, and so it becomes a more and more expensive habit. My relative was stealing from his roommates, falling behind on rent, all to get one more pill - a pill that Mr. Giuliani kept well within his reach.
Rudy Giuliani can rot in hell for the pain and suffering he has caused thousands of families, including my own. I will never forgive these craven actions on behalf of big Pharma, underwriter to the Republican Party.
More here. By the way, I've read Barry Meier's book, and it's shocking what this company Purdue Frederick did to get out of being held accountable. That Giuliani was a part of it makes it all the more gut-wrenching.