Grey Skank, on the case!

As much as I sometimes disparage the venerable journal of record, it is one of the most important and influential sources of news in our society.   Recently, because of some shenanigan by Sekhnet who subscribes to the Times for an elderly former neighbor who lives in an institutional hell, isolated, against her will, we both get NYT news clips sent to our phones.   The other day this one arrived.  

The story had been meticulously set out in a long New Yorker profile HERE, (and I wrote about it, more briefly, HERE)  but the NY Times had several more sickening details, gathered recently.

The NY Times headline: 

Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused

the lede: 

A confidential Justice Department report found the company was aware early on that OxyContin was being crushed and snorted for its powerful narcotic, but continued to promote it as less addictive.

by Barry Meier

Purdue Pharma, the company that planted the seeds of the opioid epidemic through its aggressive marketing of OxyContin, has long claimed it was unaware of the powerful opioid painkiller’s growing abuse until years after it went on the market.

But a copy of a confidential Justice Department report shows that federal prosecutors investigating the company found that Purdue Pharma knew about “significant” abuse of OxyContin in the first years after the drug’s introduction in 1996 and concealed that information.

The rest of the article is HERE

Not to fear, a deal was made to keep those responsible out of legal jeopardy back in 2006 and Purdue Pharma’s paid lying fuck had this to say in response to the NYTimes recent fake news story, all evidence to the contrary (and there’s apparently a shitload from before the DOJ let the Sacklers and their company off the hook more than a decade ago):

A spokesman for Purdue Pharma, Robert Josephson, declined to comment on the allegations in the report but said the company was involved in efforts to address opioid abuse.

“Suggesting that activities that last occurred more than 16 years ago are responsible for today’s complex and multifaceted opioid crisis is deeply flawed,” he said in a statement.

Deeply flawed, yes, of course, good line, bitchface, no wonder they pay you the big bucks.  Like corporate cousin Exxon, first to research and find the connection between burning fossil fuel and catastrophic climate change, then funding decades of climate change skepticism.  Deeply flawed to blame a powerful, highly addictive multi-billion dollar profit center, relentlessly and falsely marketed as a safe alternative to the addictive forms of the same drug, for fueling the Opioid Crisis.  Even if, and I say IF (though there is absolutely no ‘if’, as the newly leaked evidence shows), Purdue and the Sacklers knew from the beginning that they were lying to sell a boatload of the highly addictive stuff in every possible way.  

I wonder if Josephson was the former FDA official, later hired by Purdue Pharma, who approved the false and misleading marketing/package insert for Oxycontin that launched the powerful opioid’s meteoric rise to the top of the lucrative opioid drug pyramid [1].  The marketing continued, we know now, long after Purdue and the Sacklers knew all about the widespread abuse of its miracle drug.

The Sackler family, owners of Purdue, always plead ignorance and hide behind a corporate veil, as their ilk always does.   They feel, no doubt, that they’ve already suffered more than enough, having paid an outrageous $653,000,000 in corporate profits back in 2006 in a deal to end the merciless federal witch hunt against them.   If there’s any doubt that these psychopaths are lying about what they knew and when, there’s this:

Then in 1998, as OxyContin’s marketing campaign was taking off, Purdue Pharma learned of a medical journal study that appeared to undercut its central message — that OxyContin, as a long-acting opioid, had less appeal to drug abusers.

In the study, which was published in The Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver interviewed local drug dealers and abusers to learn what legal drugs sold for on the black market. They found that MS Contin commanded the highest price of any prescription opioid with a 30-milligram tablet that cost $1 at a pharmacy bringing up to $40 on the street.

In an accompanying editorial, a Canadian physician, Dr. Brian Goldman, wrote that the findings turned thinking about the supposed safety of long-acting opioids like OxyContin on its head by showing that drug abusers “coveted” such drugs.

“This should ring alarm bells,” Dr. Goldman, who was then a paid speaker for Purdue Pharma, wrote in the editorial.

Purdue Pharma did not send the Canadian study to the F.D.A. or tell its sales representatives about it. Instead, one sales official testified later to a federal grand jury that the company gave him an older survey to show doctors that had concluded that drug abusers were not attracted to time-release opioids.

Mr. Josephson, the Purdue Pharma spokesman, said it was not required to tell the F.D.A. about the Canadian study or editorial. He added that the company did not consider the small study’s results significant because it was already known that morphine could be abused.

The real question, of course, is what kind of fucking traitor leaked these “classified” reports, pages that show the guilty parties had full knowledge of the bad shit their lucrative, fraudulent, abuse-prone baby was causing years before Dubya and Cheney’s DOJ let them quietly off the hook with the corporation paying all fines?

This piquant passage should not pass by un-noted:

The head of the Justice Department’s criminal division at the time, Alice S. Fisher, did not respond to emails seeking comment about the decision not to pursue indictments. That decision followed meetings with a Purdue Pharma defense team whose advisers included Rudolph W. Giuliani, a onetime United States attorney and former New York mayor. Mr. Giuliani, who was then regarded as a potential Republican presidential candidate, is now a legal adviser to Mr. Trump.

Oh, how far the mighty have fallen.  What a fucking country!   God bless these fucking all-powerful, unaccountable winners we have here and God bless these United States of Exceptional Avarice, Death and Shamelessness.  Have a brilliant day!


[1] There would have been a neat symmetry to that, but, no, the former FDA weasel for hire was a scumbag named Dr. Curtis Wright:

The F.D.A. approved OxyContin in 1995, for use in treating moderate to severe pain. Purdue had conducted no clinical studies on how addictive or prone to abuse the drug might be. But the F.D.A., in an unusual step, approved a package insert for OxyContin which announced that the drug was safer than rival painkillers, because the patented delayed-absorption mechanism “is believed to reduce the abuse liability.” David Kessler, who ran the F.D.A. at the time, told me that he was “not involved in the approval.” The F.D.A. examiner who oversaw the process, Dr. Curtis Wright, left the agency shortly afterward. Within two years, he had taken a job at Purdue.


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