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Health, Wellness, Sex and Body Discuss Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars at the General Discussion; The Family That Built an Empire of Pain The Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars—and ...

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Old 02-17-2019, 08:39 PM
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Default Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars

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The Family That Built an Empire of Pain
The Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars—and millions of addicts.


An addiction specialist said that the Sacklers’ firm, Purdue Pharma, bears the “lion’s share” of the blame for the opioid crisis.
Illustration by Ben Wiseman
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. 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.

Since 1999, two hundred thousand Americans have died from overdoses related to OxyContin and other prescription opioids. Many addicts, finding prescription painkillers too expensive or too difficult to obtain, have turned to heroin. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, four out of five people who try heroin today started with prescription painkillers. The most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that a hundred and forty-five Americans now die every day from opioid overdoses.

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.”....

...Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford, who served as a drug-policy adviser to the Obama Administration, said, “That’s the real Greek tragedy of this—that so many well-meaning doctors got co-opted. The level of influence is just mind-boggling. Purdue gave money to continuing medical education, to state medical boards, to faux grassroots organizations.” According to training materials, Purdue instructed sales representatives to assure doctors—repeatedly and without evidence—that “fewer than one per cent” of patients who took OxyContin became addicted. (In 1999, a Purdue-funded study of patients who used OxyContin for headaches found that the addiction rate was thirteen per cent.)

Within five years of its introduction, OxyContin was generating a billion dollars a year. “There is no sign of it slowing down,” Richard Sackler told a team of company representatives in 2000. The sales force was heavily incentivized to push the drug. In a memo, a sales manager in Tennessee wrote, “$$$$$$$$$$$$$ It’s Bonus Time in the Neighborhood!” May, who was assigned to the Virginia area, was astonished to learn that especially skillful colleagues were earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions. One year, May’s own sales were so brisk that Purdue rewarded him with a trip to Hawaii. As prescriptions multiplied, Purdue executives—and the Sackler family members on the company’s board—appeared happy to fund such blandishments. Internal budget plans described the company’s sales force as its “most valuable resource.” In 2001, Purdue Pharma paid forty million dollars in bonuses....

... They duped the F.D.A., saying it lasted twelve hours. They lied about the addictive properties. And they did all this to grow the opioid market, to make it O.K. to jump in the water. Then some of these other companies, they saw that the water was warm, and they said, ‘O.K., we can jump in, too.’ ” There may be significant legal distinctions between a tobacco company and an opioid producer, but to Moore the ethical parallel is unmistakable: “They’re both profiting by killing people.”...
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...empire-of-pain
Big Pharma's goal is to MAKE MONEY by SELLING DRUGS.
Helping people's health is the marketing tool not necessarily the real product.
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Last edited by mr wonder; 02-17-2019 at 08:47 PM..
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dol

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Originally Posted by mr wonder View Post
Big Pharma's goal is to MAKE MONEY by SELLING DRUGS.
Helping people's health is the marketing tool not necessarily the real product.
nurses were told oxy was a synthetic substitute for codeine when in fact it's the same thing as morphine which is very addicting.
the real reason we are in Afghanistan.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:46 AM
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Default Re: Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dol

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