Well, this turned out to be an interesting development.
As the nation begins to have no choice but to confront the deadly opioid epidemic that has had its grip for more than 20 years now, we began following developments that have been in the making for years in an @ theNewsBlender ICYMI News – Down the Rabbit Holes.
We learned about “claims of hundreds of cities and counties against opioid makers including Purdue and Johnson & Johnson have been consolidated” into one case in front of a US District Court in Cleveland, OH, where US District Court Judge Dan Polster refused to dismiss racketeering claims against Purdue Pharma along with other “drug manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies,” including McKesson and Cardinal Health.
We learned about the Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma wholly owned by some of the Sackler family, the company and the people who created and introduced the opioid drug OxyContin in 1995, and about the lengths they went to make sure their drug not only was hitting the markets, but pushed, with alleged willful disregard with false reports, the drug was not an addictive narcotic as it was passed out like candy to children and adults alike.
We learned about former politicians, DEA agents, and regulators of US government agencies who left to go work for the drug distributors then were allowed to help craft legislation “that greatly weakened” to disarm the abilities of the DEA “to halt large opioid shipments.”
We learned that Rep Tom Marino (R-PA), a key architect of that legislation in 2016, was tapped by Trump in 2017 to become Trump’s “drug czar” to head the “US Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration,” but was forced to withdrawal his name because of a joint 60 Minutes and Washington Post investigation.
US Rep Tom Marino resigns.
US Representative Tom Marino, who represents Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District and was one of Trump’s earlier supporters, co-chairing Trump’s presidential election campaign in Pennsylvania with Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), announced in a statement released to the press on Thursday, the Associated Press reported, that, “his last day will be Jan. 23 and that he is taking a job in the private sector,” only days into the new US Congressional session after winning an easy reelection for his “heavily Republican district in northern Pennsylvania.”
Trump nominated Marino in 2017 to become the nation’s drug czar, but Marino withdrew his name from consideration after reports he played a key role in a law that weakened federal power to stop companies from distributing opioids.
At the time, Marino defended his work on the law, which passed without opposition in the House and Senate and was signed by President Barack Obama, and said it will help “facilitate a balanced solution” between access to medication and law enforcement’s efforts to prevent abuse.Associated Press
Recently reelected Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf (D) will now set a special election to fill Marino’s vacated seat, leaving the Republican party in the position of having to now “secure votes among the committee members of the state Republican Party who will select a nominee to run in the special election,” for the seat in a district that covers almost all of its 15 counties. whose numbers of registered Republican “outnumber Democrats there by nearly 100,000.”
The Sacklers and Purdue Pharma.
The Sackler family, a tale of three brothers, Arthur, Mortimer, and Raymond, all doctors, all deceased now, known primarily only for their incredible philanthropy around the world until recently, and listed by Forbes as one of the top 25 of America’s Richest Families, is now “facing mass litigation and likely criminal investigation.”
Though it is to be duly noted that the Arthur Sackler branch of the family, specifically Elizabeth Sackler, wants it to be very clear all her father’s shares in the pharmaceutical company Purdue Fredrick the three brothers founded together were sold to the surviving brothers Mortimer and Raymond upon the death of Arthur Slacker in 1987.
“That neither she nor her children benefited in any way” from the sale of Oxycontin or ever held shares in Purdue Pharma, after the blockbuster reports from The New Yorker and Esquire in October 2017, and that she, “admired Nan Goldin and all activists seeking to hold Purdue accountable for “morally abhorrent” behavior.”
The Family That Built an Empire of Pain – The Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars—and millions of addicts; The New Yorker.
The Secretive Family Making Billions From the Opioid Crisis; Equire.
It was after the death of their brother when Mortimer and Raymond Sackler founded Purdue Pharma. By 2001 almost 80% of their company’s revenue was made by the marketing and distribution of the pain pill OxyCotin.
““This is essentially a crime family … drug dealers in nice suits and dresses,” said Paul Hanly, a New York city lawyer who represents Suffolk county and is also a lead attorney in a huge civil action playing out in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, involving opioid manufacturers and distributors.” [The Guardian]theNewsBlender
In the Massachusetts’s case, Attorney General Maura Healey just filed a new 312-page memorandum detailing “a chain of command that she alleges implicates eight Sackler family members, as well as nine Purdue board members or executives, in the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic,” according to reports from the Washington Post and NPR.
175. At the OxyContin launch party, Richard Sackler spoke as the Senior Vice President responsible for sales. He asked the audience to imagine a series of natural disasters: an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, a hurricane, and a blizzard. He said: “the launch of OxyContin Tablets will be followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition. The prescription blizzard will be so deep, dense, and white…” Over the next twenty years, the Sacklers made Richard’s boast come true. They created a manmade disaster. Their blizzard of dangerous prescriptions buried children and parents and grandparents across Massachusetts, and the burials continue.”NPR
““We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible,” Sackler wrote in a confidential email in 2001, as the opioid crisis was escalating and pressure was mounting on Purdue. “They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.””
Opioids are now more likely to kill people than car crashes, according to the nonprofit National Safety Council. The epidemic started in the late 1990s when people became addicted to prescription painkillers such as OxyContin; after a crackdown on prescribing made the pills harder to obtain, users shifted to heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid now driving overdose deaths.Washington Post
We’ll continue to keep an eye on both these for any further developments. Stay tuned.