DEA Whistleblower accuses big pharma and Congress for opioid crisis

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Here4money, Oct 15, 2017.

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  3. Trump drug czar nominee accused of hindering opioid crackdown

    US President Donald Trump's nominee for drug czar is accused of helping relax enforcement on pharmaceutical firms blamed for fuelling the opioid crisis.

    Pennsylvania congressman Tom Marino pushed a bill that reportedly stripped a government agency of the ability to freeze suspicious painkiller shipments.

    His co-sponsor on the act was Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Both their states have been ravaged by opioids.

    Experts estimate the drugs could kill 500,000 Americans in the next decade.

    Deadly addiction to opioids - a class of drug covering everything from legal painkillers to heroin - has been described as America's biggest public health crisis since the spread of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.

    President Trump was pressed on Monday about the allegations surrounding his drug czar nominee that were detailed in an expose by the Washington Post and CBS News' 60 Minutes programme.

    During a press conference at the White House, Mr Trump told reporters he took the journalistic investigation "very seriously".

    "We're gonna be looking into Tom [Marino]," he told reporters from the Rose Garden.

    "He's a great guy. I did see the report. We're gonna look into the report."

    Mr Trump also said he would formally declare a national opioid emergency next week, as he pledged to do more than two months ago.

    Mr Marino and Ms Blackburn, both Republicans, helped force out an official at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who was taking on the drug firms, report the Post and 60 Minutes.

    According to the investigation, they also introduced and lobbied for an "industry-friendly" bill called the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act.

    A DEA whistleblower said the legislation made it harder for the agency to prevent distributors from shipping pills to rogue pharmacies and corrupt doctors around the US.

    The so-called suspension orders - which the DEA slaps on suspicious shipments - have not been issued for at least two years, according to the report.
  4. An explosive '60 Minutes' investigation prompted a lot of backlash — and it could lead to a law getting repealed
    • Following an explosive investigation by The Washington Post and "60 Minutes," lawmakers are calling for a repeal of a law that passed through Congress with relative ease.
    • The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act aimed to improve enforcement around prescription-drug abuse and diversion, but the investigation found that it may have made it more difficult for the agency to enforce fines against drug distributors.
    • Sen. Orrin Hatch, who was instrumental in bringing the bill along, called the characterization of the bill and how it became law "baloney."
    • The repeal bill, introduced Monday, still has a ways to go before it could overturn the initial law.
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    Purdue Pharma Begins Resolution of Opioid Cases With $270 Million Deal
    Settlement is first to come of 1,600 lawsuits the maker of OxyContin faces over opioid marketing

    Purdue Pharma LP has forged the first deal to resolve more than 1,600 lawsuits blaming the OxyContin maker for fueling the opioid crisis, a move that could lay the groundwork for the resolution of the rest of the litigation.

    Purdue Pharma and Sacklers Reach $270 Million Settlement in Opioid Lawsuit
    The agreement, negotiated with the state of Oklahoma, will allow the maker of OxyContin to avoid a televised courtroom trial.

    Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and its owners, the Sackler family, agreed to pay $270 million to avoid going to a state court trial over the company’s role in the opioid addiction epidemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans over the past two decades.

    The payment, negotiated to settle a case brought by the state of Oklahoma, was far larger than two previous settlements Purdue Pharma had reached with other states. It could jolt other settlement talks with the company, including those in a consolidated collection of 1600 cases overseen by a federal judge in Cleveland.

    “Purdue appears to have concluded that it was less risky to settle the Oklahoma case than have the allegations publicly aired against it during a televised trial and face exposure to what could have been an astronomical jury verdict,” said Abbe R. Gluck, a professor at Yale Law School who directs the Solomon Center for Health Policy and Law.

    “That said,” she continued, “the settlement does put a stake in the ground for the other cases. It telegraphs what these cases might be worth and makes the elephant in the room even larger — namely, do Purdue and the Sacklers have sufficient funds to give fair payouts in the 1600-plus cases that remain?”

    Sackler family members of directing efforts to mislead the public about OxyContin’s potency and addictive properties. A number of museums and cultural institutions around the world have recently stopped taking donations from the Sacklers, who have a long record of philanthropy.

    As headlines mounted, the company began exploring the possibility of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring, a step that could temporarily insulate it from big judgments.
    While it has yet to decide, the possibility of bankruptcy exerted powerful leverage at the bargaining table in Oklahoma, people familiar with the negotiations said.

    Once a company files for Chapter 11 protection, only secured creditors, such as banks, can expect to be repaid in full. While an Oklahoma jury could potentially have hit Purdue with a stratospheric civil judgment, the likelihood of the state collecting even a significant portion from bankruptcy court — never mind how much appellate courts would reduce the award — would be remote and at some point far in the future. Legal experts said the settlement amounts to a bird-in-the-hand decision.

    Legal experts said similar calculations could come into play in the 35 other state cases still pending against Purdue, as well as in the federal litigation, which combines 1600 suits brought by cities, counties, Native American tribes and others.

    “There is blood in the water now, and with the threat of bankruptcy, the concern is that counties and states may settle on the cheap early to avoid getting little to nothing later on, “ said Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, a law professor at the University of Georgia.

    At a news conference Tuesday in Tulsa, Mike Hunter, the Oklahoma state attorney general, said that as part of the settlement agreement, Purdue’s payment to the state had been secured against any possible bankruptcy filing.

    “The addiction crisis facing our state and nation is a clear and present danger,” Mr. Hunter said. “Last year alone, out of the more than 3,000 Oklahomans admitted to the hospital for a nonfatal overdose, 80 percent involved a prescription opioid medication. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of Oklahomans who died from a drug overdose in 2018 were attributed to a pharmaceutical drug. Deploying the money from this settlement immediately allows us to decisively treat addiction illness and save lives.”

    Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the federal litigation, while quick to praise Oklahoma’s settlement, underscored that a resolution with Purdue hardly represented a broad settlement with the numerous companies involved in making, distributing and selling opioid painkillers.

    “There are nearly two dozen other defendants with pending allegations against them in federal court, “ the executive committee of the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in a statement. “We believe all of these defendants — opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies — must be held responsible for their role in the epidemic, and we will continue to pursue accountability for the thousands of communities we represent.”

    According to details of the agreement announced Tuesday by Mr. Hunter, more than than $100 million will go to fund a new addiction treatment and research center at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa. The Sacklers, who were not named in the lawsuit, will contribute an additional $75 million over five years to the center.

    Center for Wellness and Recovery, which has a current annual budget of only about $2.4 million.

    About $60 million of the settlement money will be set aside to reimburse the state for litigation costs, and $12.5 million will be given to municipalities and counties to address their costs for the epidemic. The package also includes $20 million in medicine for addiction treatment. (The Food and Drug Administration recently granted Purdue a fast track designation to develop an emergency opioid overdose treatment injection, which the company pledged not to profit from.)

    Public health experts cautiously welcomed the agreement.

    “It will certainly be addressing the harms caused by the company, “ said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, a professor of public health policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

    “It creates an opportunity not just to improve treatment right on the university’s site, but to expand access to lifesaving medications across the region, “ he said.

    So far, the trial, which includes other pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson, is on track to begin May 28. On Monday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court turned aside a bid by the defendants to delay the start by 100 days.

    Xarelto, the blood thinner medication. With its co-defendant, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson prevailed in six jury trials over Xarelto, before it agreed to settle.

    [Like the Science Ti

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    cliffnotes: just like drug lords who use money for bribes as the cost of doing business, big pharma does the same using settlements.
  8. These mofo's are corrupt to the core , they're all only for themselves , bigly.

    Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows warn Big Pharma execs not to cooperate with drug-price probe
    Leading members of the House Freedom Caucus take Big Pharma's side in Oversight Committee probe of drug prices

    Two prominent Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus warned pharmaceutical companies not to cooperate with a House probe into their drug pricing.

    Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who both sit on the House Oversight Committee, sent letters to the CEOs of 12 pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, to warn them against complying with their own panel’s investigation into how the industry sets its drug prices, BuzzFeed News reported.

    Meadows and Jordan warned that committee chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., may leak damaging information about the companies in an effort to bring down the industry’s stock prices.

    “Whatever you all give us, we will give it back in savings by rooting out fraud, waste and abuse,” he added.
  9. Big Pharma ANNNNNNNNND congress. These scumbags were only too happy to take the money and turn a blind eye and deaf ear, and they have done it for decades. Now there's a problem? Fuck you! I guess I'll just keep saying it. This criminally corrupt congress was, is, and always will be the main source of every problem we have in this country, and until you stupid MF'ers quit distinguishing between the two parties as if one is somehow less corrupt than the other, it will continue.
    #10     Apr 15, 2019
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