I have blogged previously about the role of PBMs in shipping drugs to retail drug stores that placed suspiciously high drug orders (see: Drug Distributor McKesson Pays Record Penalty For Suspicious Opioid Orders). The role of the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, in aggressively pushing Oxycontin is also now coming to light (see: The Sackler Family: best known for philanthropy, they made billions promoting Oxycontin; Report: Stamford company confirms DOJ probe). Let's face facts. You can't have a country-wide epidemic of prescription drugs without the connivance of some of the major corporations. Some of these executives need to spend some time in jail for the harm that they have done to the country. Some of this is already happening as described in a recent article (see: Founder and Owner of Pharmaceutical Company Insys Arrested and Charged with Racketeering). Below is an excerpt from it:
The founder and majority owner of Insys Therapeutics...., was arrested...and charged with leading a nationwide conspiracy to profit by using bribes and fraud to cause the illegal distribution of a Fentanyl spray intended for cancer patients experiencing breakthrough pain. John N. Kapoor, 74, of Phoenix, Ariz., a current member of the Board of Directors of Insys, was arrested ...in Arizona and charged with RICO conspiracy, as well as other felonies, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law....The superseding indictment....also includes additional allegations against several former Insys executives and managers who were initially indicted in December 2016....
[Kapoor and other executives] conspired to bribe practitioners in various states, many of whom operated pain clinics, in order to get them to prescribe a fentanyl-based pain medication. The medication, called “Subsys,” is a powerful narcotic intended to treat cancer patients suffering intense breakthrough pain. In exchange for bribes and kickbacks, the practitioners wrote large numbers of prescriptions for the patients, most of whom were not diagnosed with cancer. The indictment also alleges that Kapoor and the six former executives conspired to mislead and defraud health insurance providers who were reluctant to approve payment for the drug when it was prescribed for non-cancer patients....“In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has reached crisis proportions, Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies solely for profit,” said Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb.
Copied from a tell-all article in Esquire about the Sackler family who were the owners of Purdue (see: THE SECRETIVE FAMILY MAKING BILLIONS FROM THE OPIOID CRISIS), here is an insightful paragraph summarizing how they conspired to bring this opioid blight to the country:
The Sacklers have been millionaires for decades, but their real money—the painkiller money—is of comparatively recent vintage. The vehicle of that fortune was OxyContin, but its engine, the driving power that made them so many billions, was not so much the drug itself as it was Arthur’s original marketing insight, rehabbed for the era of chronic-pain management. That simple but profitable idea was to take a substance with addictive properties—in Arthur’s case, a benzo; in Raymond and Mortimer’s case, an opioid—and market it as a salve for a vast range of indications.
We now need to turn to the federal government to help us extricate from this mess. This is not necessarily a hopeful prospect because there is probably little difference between the ethics of our president, some members of his cabinet, and the corporate executives that got us into this mess.