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posted by martyb on Friday November 22 2019, @08:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the if-it's-non-addicting,-give-it-to-every-exec-for-a-month dept.

Report: Sacklers using fake doctors, false marketing to sell OxyContin in China

The mega-rich family behind the OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma is back to selling its highly addictive pain-killer with underhanded tactics and deceptive advertising—this time in China, via its international company, Mundipharma. That’s all according to a searing new investigation by the Associated Press.

The Sackler family, which owns both Purdue and Mundipharma, is embroiled in litigation in the United States over its alleged role in sparking the country’s epidemic of opioid abuse and overdoses. Thousands of plaintiffs—many state and local governments—claim that Purdue and the Sacklers misled patients, doctors, and regulators on the addictiveness of their drugs, aggressively marketed them, and wooed doctors into over-prescribing them.

While Purdue has since declared bankruptcy and stopped promoting OxyContin in the US, the Sacklers seem to be employing the same practices in China.

Based on documents and interviews with multiple Mundipharma representatives in China, the AP investigation found that reps were at times posing as doctors, providing debunked information that its long-acting opioids are safe and less addictive, and even illegally copying private medical records of patients to inform sales tactics.

[...]Mundipharma, meanwhile, is still hiring in China.

The AP story linked above is in-depth and well worth reading. See also: HuffPost.


Original Submission

Related Stories

OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma to Plead Guilty to Three Criminal Charges 67 comments

OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma to Plead Guilty to Three Criminal Charges

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to plead guilty to 3 criminal charges as part of an $8 billion-plus settlement

WASHINGTON (AP) — Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, the powerful prescription painkiller that experts say helped touch off an epidemic, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion, Justice Department officials told The Associated Press.

The company will plead guilty to a criminal information being filed Wednesday in federal court in New Jersey to three counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws, the officials said.

The deal does not release any of the company's executives or owners — members of the wealthy Sackler family — from criminal liability. A criminal investigation is ongoing.

The officials were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Also at: Business Insider, CBS News, and ABC News.

Guilty pleas? You seldom see that - these corporates always seem to get away with weasel word statements to the effect, "We acknowledge no wrongdoing blah blah blah . . . "

Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty to Opioid Crisis Charges, Will Become a Public Benefit Corporation

OxyContin maker to plead guilty to federal criminal charges, pay $8 billion, and will close the company

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for its role in creating the nation's opioid crisis and will pay more than $8 billion and close down the company.

The money will go to opioid treatment and abatement programs. The privately held company has agreed to pay a $3.5 billion fine as well as forfeit an additional $2 billion in past profits, in addition to the $2.8 billion it agreed to pay in civil liability.
"Purdue Pharma actively thwarted the United States' efforts to ensure compliance and prevent diversion," said Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Administrator Tim McDermott. "The devastating ripple effect of Purdue's actions left lives lost and others addicted."

The company doesn't have $8 billion in cash available to pay the fines. So Purdue will be dissolved as part of the settlement, and its assets will be used to create a new "public benefit company" controlled by a trust or similar entity designed for the benefit of the American public. The Justice Department said it will function entirely in the public interest rather than to maximize profits. Its future earnings will go to paying the fines and penalties, which in turn will be used to combat the opioid crisis.

That new company will continue to produce painkillers such as OxyContin, as well as drugs to deal with opioid overdose. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who announced the settlement, defended the plans for the new company to continue to sell that drug, saying there are legitimate uses for painkillers such as OxyContin.

Also at The New York Times, Bloomberg, NBC, and CBS.

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @10:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @10:50AM (#923358)

    UK got China with opium. Over a century later, China is still bent out of shape over this.

    China, with misplaced blame, took revenge against the USA with fentanyl.

    Well, it's time the USA went after China. It would be a proper revenge, since they attacked US first. We are not the UK, even if the Chinese think all westerners are the same.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Mojibake Tengu on Friday November 22 2019, @11:56AM (5 children)

    by Mojibake Tengu (8598) on Friday November 22 2019, @11:56AM (#923364) Journal
    --
    Respect Authorities. Know your social status. Woke responsibly.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @02:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @02:54PM (#923396)

      Greedy bloodsuckers--anything for a buck.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @03:59PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @03:59PM (#923416)

      they became evil, corrupted by the power of money. Sackler made great contribution to medecine, from a reference [forbes.com] in the linked wiki page:

      Not only isn’t Arthur Sackler a villain, but he actually made many positive, even heroic contributions to the medical world.
      A racial progressive, he successfully advocated for the racial integration of New York City’s blood banks.
      He advocated for gentler alternatives to electro-shock therapy.
      He was a pioneer in the use of ultrasound technology.

      advocating for gentler alternative to old school electro-shock therapy is not the apex of Evil in my book.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by sjames on Friday November 22 2019, @04:20PM

        by sjames (2882) on Friday November 22 2019, @04:20PM (#923430) Journal

        Arthur is deceased.. It appears that with his death, the family purged itself of its moral compass.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @04:30PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @04:30PM (#923437)

      They are simply following the tenants of Judaism.

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @05:31PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @05:31PM (#923456)

        All the way back to their apartments, where they try to tutor people like you?

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Gaaark on Friday November 22 2019, @12:09PM (5 children)

    by Gaaark (41) on Friday November 22 2019, @12:09PM (#923365) Journal

    Put them in jail and take their money: remove the incentive to do evil and the evil will stop.

    Others will take note and correct themselves.

    Let them profit off of doing evil and it will continue!

    Poor people go to jail for stealing food but rich people get to profit off stealing peoples lives.

    WRONG.

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by deimtee on Friday November 22 2019, @12:36PM (3 children)

      by deimtee (3272) on Friday November 22 2019, @12:36PM (#923368) Journal

      Extradite them to China.

      --
      If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @04:43PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @04:43PM (#923443)

        No problem. They can afford to purchase their bullet.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @08:07PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @08:07PM (#923496)

        We have extrajurisdictional prosecution and conviction in absentia here in the U.S. If the Chinese held a trial and issued a warrant, there would be very little the U.S. could say about it in terms of international law, since we do the same thing.

        Note that they don't have to snatch them here to get them. You just have to walk down to the flightline to read the N numbers on their jets. I'm sure a healthy bounty would result in some enterprising individuals making the right phone calls the next time they are vacationing in their favorite tax haven countries.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday November 23 2019, @05:13AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 23 2019, @05:13AM (#923691) Journal

          We have extrajurisdictional prosecution

          What's extrajurisdictional about someone being prosecuted for crimes they committed in the jurisdiction where the crimes were committed?

    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Friday November 22 2019, @06:17PM

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Friday November 22 2019, @06:17PM (#923467) Journal

      Poor people go to jail for stealing food but rich people get to profit off stealing peoples lives.

      That's because we let rich people run the government. Gotta stop voting for them if you wanna change anything.

      --
      La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Thexalon on Friday November 22 2019, @04:02PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday November 22 2019, @04:02PM (#923418)

    Treat the Sacklers just like the leaders of any other international drug cartel.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Friday November 22 2019, @04:12PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday November 22 2019, @04:12PM (#923424) Journal

    Lots of wealth really warps people. It's the rich, anti-social sorts like these Sacklers who are really ruining America, while too many of us stand idly by and let them. Worse, some among us venerate them, solely because they're rich. Doesn't matter that they're awful, the thinking is that if they have money, they must have done something right. That thinking is straight out of the Prosperity Gospel. That they have acquired their wealth by doing wrong to a lot of someones somehow doesn't get mentioned, especially when they bribe the media and the law to look the other way. They have to sink to Epstein levels of depravity to break that illusionary connection between wealth and virtue.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @04:26PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @04:26PM (#923435)

    What is it with the regular 15 minutes of hate against the Sacklers? Did they express support for Trump?

    They are producing and selling a legal and necessary product; it is the government's responsibility to control its availability and distribution for the safety of the people.

    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Friday November 22 2019, @06:24PM (6 children)

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Friday November 22 2019, @06:24PM (#923469) Journal

      Wrong. It's the lack of self control that should be punished, not the lack of a whip.

      --
      La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
      • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Saturday November 23 2019, @01:29AM (5 children)

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Saturday November 23 2019, @01:29AM (#923588) Journal

        Oh, absolutely. Time to take all the warning labels off the tobacco products and lower the drinking age to "fetus" while we're at it, eh?

        --
        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
        • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Saturday November 23 2019, @01:47AM (4 children)

          by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday November 23 2019, @01:47AM (#923598) Journal

          No, you should be able to walk up to the bar on your own power, exceptions for the disabled of course.

          If you want the government to oversee the industry, you have to oversee the government. I would think past history would make that self evident.

          --
          La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
          • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Saturday November 23 2019, @11:20PM (3 children)

            by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Saturday November 23 2019, @11:20PM (#923992) Journal

            Okay so drinking age of what, 12-18 months then? Maybe 3 years if enough speech to know what a gin and tonic is and ask for one is needed?

            I'm not joking here: what should the minimum age for drinking be and why? Ditto tobacco.

            --
            I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
            • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Sunday November 24 2019, @12:21AM (2 children)

              by fustakrakich (6150) on Sunday November 24 2019, @12:21AM (#924010) Journal

              what should the minimum age for drinking be and why?

              Around 25 years old. That's when the brain is sufficiently petrified ["matured"] according to the old car rental and insurance standards. I heard there's some physical evidence to back that up, but it was such a long time ago, I don't remember where. I would generally apply the same rules to all intoxicants, just to be safe.

              --
              La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
              • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday November 24 2019, @02:48AM (1 child)

                by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Sunday November 24 2019, @02:48AM (#924059) Journal

                And you would enforce this how...? :)

                --
                I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
                • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Sunday November 24 2019, @05:31PM

                  by fustakrakich (6150) on Sunday November 24 2019, @05:31PM (#924211) Journal

                  The usual way, I guess. A bill with several sponsors is proposed in the house of representatives, goes through committee for a full house vote, passed to the senate, goes back and forth for a while, amendments put in, amendments removed, later approved by congress, and is sent to the president, which we presume will be on board :-)

                  Then the liquor industry will challenge it in the courts, and the law will be quickly overturned. And... that's that...

                  --
                  La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Barenflimski on Friday November 22 2019, @04:31PM (2 children)

    by Barenflimski (6836) on Friday November 22 2019, @04:31PM (#923438)

    This whole "It's the Sackler families fault!" thing is a ridiculous scapegoat. It also took the FDA, the Internet, the medical establishment, government policies and the pharmacies.

    Did we need as many folks on pain medicines that ended up on them? No.
    Do they help some folks? Yes.
    Was abruptly stopping treatment and pushing hundreds of thousands to the black market the way to deal with this? No.
    Did the entire system help cause this? Yes.

    What happened to the patients?
    Patients ended up as pawns.
    Patients ended up being cut off abruptly with zero help.
    State and City governments stopped or severely curtailed prescribing but offered little to no help or tapering.
    Patients were given the choice to be sick for an extended time or find this stuff on the black market so they could continue to function.

    Now State and City governments are cashing in pretending they were practicing some form of "harm reduction" when this was going down. Its amazing to see the altruism coming out of the woodwork now around the money after the original reaction was to push hundreds of thousands out of clinics and into the streets.

    If any of what we are seeing is really meant to help the people then I would expect to unwind this we would:
    1. See the tens of thousands jailed for Opiates released and helped out financially with treatment options.
    2. See the rehab houses available to anyone that needs it with free entry and no wait times.

    It took years to ramp up the Opiate use. These guys tried to turn it around overnight. Now we have 70,000 overdose deaths annually mostly due to Fentanyl laced Heroin.

    The Sackler family may have pushed getting folks on this stuff, but it was government policies that forced people to the streets.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @09:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @09:21PM (#923525)

      Meanwhile the government comes up with a draconian response to the problem. That is, they make opioides unavailable to people who need them as medicine, as if there is no way that distribution can be properly controlled. The system actually worked well enough until pharmaceutical salespeople started brainwashing doctors, who will never again be trusted by the government.

      Why is it that those who make our laws aren't required to be sensible about it?

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @10:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22 2019, @10:08PM (#923540)

      This whole "It's the Sackler families fault!" thing is a ridiculous scapegoat.

      TFA refutes your statement. You may have had a point when the first lawsuits were ongoing. Now, however, they have been actually convicted of wrongdoing and they still peddle their same wares, but in a different jurisdiction. That's very much plainly in the realm of "it's the Sackler families fault"!

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