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Opioid Maker Sought to Addict and Treat Addiction With Their New Pills

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

opioid addiction market

Story at-a-glance -

  • The complaint quotes emails and internal documents alleging Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family sought to increase opioid prescriptions and claims Kathe Sackler concluded millions of addicted were their next business opportunity. Purdue is investigating overdose treatment and Richard Sackler is one of six listed on a patent to treat overdoses
  • Although opioids have not been proven safe or effective beyond six weeks, documents allege the company identified "super core" doctors willing to prescribe large doses over long periods, and punished sales reps when numbers dropped
  • Purdue determined providing treatments for overdose was an "attractive market" that was "naturally linked," helping them to become an end-to-end provider, increasing revenues and calculating it would net an additional $24 million in sales
  • The complaint alleges the Sackler family engaged in a decade of deception as sales behavior was unchanged following the 2007 Corporate Integrity Agreement after pleading guilty with "the intent to defraud and mislead the public"
  • If you struggle with an opioid addiction, no matter the brand of medication, it's vital to seek help from your workplace Employee Assistance Program or the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration, as opioid addiction is now the leading cause of death in Americans under 50

Opioid overdose deaths are rising as over 202,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses between 2002 and 2015, and more than 70,000 died in 2017. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50, and chronic use accounts for 20 percent of the increase in male unemployment. 

Narcotic pain relievers place an enormous economic burden on society, costing an estimated $504 billion each year. As noted by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “We know of no other medication routinely used for nonfatal conditions that kills patients so frequently.”

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