“Yes, you are responsible and need to be held accountable”. Three Canadian provinces sent this message to large pharma company in court this past week. Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec have filed a $88.7 billion CAD ($67.4 billion USD) against Purdue Pharma. Many shake their head and ask why bother suing a company in bankruptcy? It’s simple, the provinces want to recovery an exorbitant cost of health care for the past, present and into the far future.
Oxycontin was peddled by the pharma’s as a safe non-addictive pain medication for ailments such as chronic pain. The most despicable part of this marketing is Purdue knew their marketing claims were false. This new form of Oxycodone showed in studies as early as 2004 to be the leading cause of drug abuse in the United Sates of America.
How did this Happen
How can a pharma company influence medical professionals? By courting doctors, pharmacist and nurses around the states. They gave all expense paid conferences in Florida, California and Arizona. As many as 5000 medical professionals were shown the wonders of this low addiction risk (less than 1%), highly effective pain medication. It’s interesting to note that most of the doctors at these conferences felt that an all expense paid conference did not influence their prescription habits. Purdue gained 68% of the oxycodone market within a five-year period.
The year 2020 will go down in infamy for obvious reasons. To be honest though, the 2000s in general has not been great for many our citizens; opioid addicted victims of this over prescribing culture. Oxycontin has and still is, killing our children, parents and friends. If Purdue had started marketing with the same integrity they have been forced to do now, maybe our physicians would not have handed out oxycontin like candy for the last 15 years.
Finally, all pharma companies should learn they must be more responsible and transparent with their so-called miracle drugs and addictive dependency pills.