Purdue Pharma Faces $8.3 Billion Settlement For Paying Doctors To Actively Drive Up OxyContin Prescriptions

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Prescription Opioid Abuse and Addiction – An American Epidemic

Over the course of the past decade, the rates of OxyContin abuse and addiction have continuously skyrocketed throughout the United States. Not only have addiction rates been on the rise, but treatment admissions, emergency room visits and overdose death rates related to OxyContin abuse have also been steadily rising. In general, prescription drug abuse is one of the biggest public health threats that American society currently faces.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, of the 20.5 million American adults that suffered from a substance abuse disorder in the year 2015, 2 million suffered from a substance abuse disorder that directly involved a prescription medication like OxyContin. Opioid addiction is also leading the national drug overdose epidemic, with over 20,101 overdose-related fatalities directly linked to prescription opioids during the same year. Part of the reason why the rates of prescription opioid addiction and overdose have increased so dramatically is the aggressive marketing campaigns that many major pharmaceutical companies engage in. They market their medications as safe and effective, when in reality they are exceedingly dangerous and immensely habit-forming. Even when taken exactly as prescribed by a medical professional, medications like OxyContin can result in physical and psychological dependence within a short matter of weeks.

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Major OxyContin Manufacturer Held Responsible

One of the best ways to hinder the escalating severity of this national epidemic is by holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for dangerous and reckless marketing practices. On October 21, the Justice Department publicly announced an $8.3 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma, a major OxyContin manufacturer, according to an article published by The Washington Post on the same day. The company had been undergoing an in-depth federal investigation for a number of years, one that ultimately resulted in the company pleading guilty to a total of three felonies. However, while the case quickly became a prime example of justice against major corporations profiting off of the death of innocent men and women, many believe that the settlement is too lenient, and that the company owners – the Sackler family – should also spend ample time behind bars.

For the past two decades, major corporations and pharmaceutical manufacturers like Purdue Pharma have continuously profited off of the nationwide opioid epidemic while actively diverting attention from the issue at hand and successfully diverting all personal responsibility. The over-prescription of dangerous medications like OxyContin has become a widespread issue, and one of the best ways to effectively combat this issue is by continuously holding said companies accountable for their excessive manufacturing and marketing of habit-forming opioid narcotics.

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A Long-Standing Issue

Purdue Pharma admitted to paying two professional medical doctors to actively drive up OxyContin prescriptions while participating in Purdue’s doctor-speaker program. The three counts that they plead guilty to include violating federal anti-kickback laws and actively conspiring to defraud the United States.

While they admitted to this wrongdoing and insisted that company policies and standards had changed significantly, the Sackler family does have a lengthy history of prior court cases and allegations of fraud and greed mongering.

Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James directly sued the Sackler family for allegedly pocketing billions of dollars in profits over the course of the past 20 years. James participated in the Wednesday hearing, offering a written statement claiming that, “While our country continues to recover from the pain and destruction left by the Sacklers’ greed, this family has attempted to evade responsibility and lowball the millions of victims of the opioid crisis. Today’s deal doesn’t account for the hundreds of thousands of deaths or millions of addictions caused by Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family. [The settlement] allows billionaires to keep their billions without any accounting for how much they really made. From the beginning, we’ve aimed to unearth how much the Sacklers actually profited and how much they continue to hide away. While no amount of money can ever compensate the pain that so many now know, we will continue to litigate a case through the courts to secure every cent we can to limit future opioid addictions. We are committed to holding the Sacklers and others responsible for the role they played in fueling the opioid crisis.”

In 2007, there was another case between the Justice Department and Purdue Pharma that resulted in a highly controversial deal – one that many still consider a “missed opportunity.” The deal required the company to pay roughly $645 million in damages after they were found guilty of actively participating in illegal opioid marketing practices. Had control of the company been relinquished in 2007, hundreds of innocent lives might have been saved. However, details of this particular case were kept hidden from the public, and the company likely resumed aggressive marketing techniques shortly after paying the settlement. Over the course of the next 10 years these techniques continued, generating billions of dollars in profit for the Sackler family and their company higher-ups while compromising the well-being of thousands of men and women throughout the country.

Putting an End to the Epidemic

The Sackler family is being asked to relinquish control of the company, which would henceforth operate as a public trust under government control. However, the company would still be able to manufacture prescription opioids like OxyContin, so long as they continue to do so lawfully. While a reduction of aggressive marketing campaigns will undeniably make an impact on the prevention of future cases of OxyContin addiction and overdose, prescription drug addiction remains a major public health crisis throughout the US. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were over 18 million American adults that admittedly abused a prescription medication during the year 2017 alone. Of these individuals, roughly 2 million abused a prescription opioid narcotic like OxyContin for the first time.

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Guardian Recovery and OxyContin Addiction

At Guardian Recovery we offer a comprehensive and highly individualized program of OxyContin addiction recovery. We understand just how addictive this medication can be, and how difficult it can be for an individual to quit without intensive, professional intervention. Even individuals who take this medication exactly as prescribed by a medical professional are likely to develop an intense physical and psychological dependence over time. Because OxyContin is often prescribed to treat pain-related disorders, our program of recovery focuses on non-invasive methods of pain management, providing clients with safe alternatives to habit-forming narcotic medications. Depending on the personal needs and requirements of each individual client, we offer services including physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and participation in professionally instructed yoga classes. Sadly, rates of OxyContin addiction and overdose-related death continue to climb despite increased intervention on the part of the government. The good news is that recovery is possible for everyone, no matter how intense and advanced the substance abuse disorder has become. To learn more about our program of OxyContin addiction recovery, or to learn more about prescription drug abuse prevention, give Guardian Recovery a call today, we are available 24/7 at (888) 481-3944. We serve men and women of all ages in Florida, Maine, New Jersey, Colorado and the remainder of the country. Our quality programs of clinical care were carefully developed by a team of experienced addiction specialists, medical professionals and licensed therapists and psychologists, and focus on a multi-phased and integrated approach to addiction treatment and lifelong recovery. We look forward to speaking with you soon and answering any additional questions you may have.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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