“Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion, Justice Department officials announced Wednesday.
As part of the resolution, Purdue will admit that it impeded the Drug Enforcement Administration by falsely representing that it had maintained an effective program to avoid drug diversion and by reporting misleading information to the agency to boost the company’s manufacturing quotas, the officials said.
Purdue will also admit to violating federal anti-kickback laws by paying doctors, through a speaking program, to induce them to write more prescriptions for the company’s opioids and for using electronic health records software to influence the prescription of pain medication, according to the officials.”
This is obviously bad conduct by the drug manufacturer and they should be held accountable. It is also another failure of a “board of directors” to do their job as watchdogs to protect the investors which is their primary duty. The doctors that overprescribed should be punished too. They knew they should take kickbacks or prescribe a medication that is not essential to the patients. I just needed to get this out of the way before I launch into the meat of the subject.
However bad as those issues above may be, that still doesn’t let the users/abusers of OxyContin off the hook. When this drug is taken as directed for the appropriate pathology, there is very little evidence to suggest it was any more dangerous than similar drugs still on the market. This is the truth and it’s difficult to hear because now we are looking at personal responsibility. Lawyers will never go there because there is no money to be made, it’s always about suing the deep pockets!
Excluding patients who through no fault of their own got hooked by their doctor on pain killers, the vast numbers of persons that really caused an opioid epidemic were people who irresponsibly self-medicated. Americans have a long history of being drawn to the recreational use of drugs and when a drug like OxyContin came around it was a magnet for those with poor life management skills or addictive personality types.
This is why I believe that ultimately the majority of fault for the opioid epidemic lies with the consumer, not the manufacturer. In case after case, persons addicted to using opioids obtained the drug illegally or did not follow doctors orders or lied about their pathology to obtain prescriptions – that is a failure of the human condition and it can’t be cured by suing drug companies.