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posted by martyb on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the profits-at-all-costs dept.

Infamous OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma used front organizations and sponsored research to deceive the World Health Organization and corrupt global public health policies with the goal of boosting international opioid sales and profits, according to a Congressional report (PDF) released Thursday, May 22.

The investigation identified two WHO guidance documents that appear to parrot some of Purdue's misleading and outright false marketing claims about the safety and efficacy of their highly addictive opioids.

The findings, released by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), land as the country is still grappling with an epidemic of opioid abuse and overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid overdoses kill an average of 130 Americans every day.

Clark and Rogers say that the motivation for the investigation follows a 2017 warning letter Congress members sent to the WHO. Given the opioid epidemic unfolding in the US, the lawmakers warned the WHO that opioid makers would try to expand into international markets, which could potentially trigger a global epidemic. But the Congress members say they didn't get a response (though the WHO disputes this).

"When the WHO failed to respond to the letter, we began to question why they would remain silent about such a significant and devastating public health epidemic," the report reads. "The answers we found are deeply disturbing."

Based on public records, the report outlines a tangle of organizations and individuals that connect financial threads from Purdue to WHO.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @03:31PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @03:31PM (#847620)

    Good post. I wrote above about my one experience with tramadol which got me through some excruciating pain. I had it for at most a week one time in a 50 year lifetime (and it was my only opiate experience). I can't express how glad I was to have it -- not because it was such a great drug -- but because the pain was so unbearable (as in "would rather die" level). Forcing me to experience extreme pain merely because some small percentage of people might get addicted would have been a cruel and torturous act. I can also totally see how intense unrelenting pain could make people seriously look at suicide because that sort of torture will fuck with your head.

    Honestly, if I had some sort of permanent pain (need a better word than "pain" -- I'm talking beyond bearable) I would either want a lifetime supply of whatever alleviated it, or a bullet. Maybe the pain killer would shorten my life, but not so fast as suicide. There must be a balancing between the risks that some people will get addicted, and the risk that some people in the absence of relief from intractable pain would just off themselves then and there.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:46PM (#847655)

    A big problem is the increasing difficulty of chronic pain suffers getting needed medications. We just recently had a dustup with a pharmacist at Walgreens who decided he knew better than my wife's doctors and refused to fill a presciption. He also blackballed her with the pharmacist at Walmart where we switched her presciptions so they wouldn't fill it. Finally found a small local pharmacy that would fill it. Her doctor filed a complaint against the first pharmacist with the pharmacy board but I doubt that will do much good.