USA: Rise in opioids deaths leads state officials to file claims against drug firms and distributors

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23 May 2016

USA: Time to hold pharmaceuticals like Purdue Pharma responsible for opioid epidemic, says Leon Kaye (TriplePundit)

Author: Leon Kaye, GreenGoPost, on TriplePundit (USA)

"It’s Time to Hold Pharmaceuticals Responsible for the Opioid Epidemic", 10 May 2016

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more U.S. citizens died from drug overdoses in 2014 than any year since the...agency first began collecting such data... [Deaths] from prescription opioids —such as hydrocodone, methadone, oxymorphone and oxycodone — have also increased four-fold since 1999...[As] a Los Angeles Times investigation concluded, many patients who were prescribed OxyContin found that the half-day relief from pain [claimed by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma] was not necessarily true... Purdue instructed doctors to prescribe stronger doses of OxyContin, not more frequent ones, in the event patients complained that pain relief lasted less than 12 hours — putting many patients at risk.  Purdue Pharma, which refused to participate with the Times’ investigation, has vigorously defended OxyContin and rebutted the Times’ article point-by-point...Purdue Pharma['s]...persistent [marketing] tactics...helped sales of the drug soar... [The prescription opioid epidemic's effects] on families and communities, especially in rural America, has been devastating...Considering how pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma have reaped billions of dollars over the past 20 years...[from opioids], it is time for these firms to step up.  They must acknowledge the overwhelming statistics that clearly link these drug manufacturers to this ongoing epidemic, and pay their fair share for education and treatment to help the U.S. overcome this public health disaster.

[For Purdue Pharma's page on "Opioids & Corporate Responsibility", click here.]

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