A Pharmaceutical mega-company -and the family at the helm of the corporation- have been targeted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for targeting veterans in order to boost opioid sales.
Purdue Pharma, a pharmaceutical company under the control of the Sackler family, is the subject of a complaint filed by Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which alleges that the company abused veterans through a self-help book targeted towards those returning from combat.
The so-called “self-help” guide urged servicemembers to ask their doctors for opioids, claiming that the drugs were no addictive unless there was a genetic, family-related history of drug abuse.
Naturally, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey took issue with the matter, citing the terrible cost it has cost veterans in the state.
“Compared to non-veterans, Massachusetts veterans are three times more likely to die from opioid overdose,” the court filings read.
To add insult to injuries, the Sackler family paid themselves $4,273,489,182 from opioid sales in eight years, from 2008 to 2016. During that same time frame, 235,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses.
In the complaint, obtained by the Daily Mail, the so-called “three-step” plan by Purdue to increase sales was laid out.
First, Purdue allegedly deceived Massachusetts doctors and patients to get more people on its dangerous drugs, as well as targeting vulnerable people who could be introduced to its opioids- including elderly patients, veterans, and people who had never taken opioids before.
Phase II and III of the scheme consisted of convincing providers to give out higher dosages for longer periods of time, creating an environment for dependency.
The self-help guide, titled Exit Wounds: A Survival Guide To Pain Management for Returning Veterans & Their Families, was released in 2009 by Derek McGinnis, an Iraq War veteran who lost his leg in combat.
McGinnis is now a spokesman for Purdue, who travels around the country “educating” doctors and veterans about chronic pain management.
Despite being marketed as a heroic “survivor story,” the book’s author is pretty clear about how he feels about opioids.
“The pain-relieving properties of opioids are unsurpassed; they are today considered the ‘gold standard’ of pain medications, and so are often the main medications used in the treatment of chronic pain,” McGinnis wrote in the book. “Yet, despite their great benefits, opioids are underused. For a number of reasons, healthcare providers may be afraid to prescribe them, and patients may be afraid to take them. At the core of this wariness is the fear of addiction, so I want to tackle this issue head-on.”
When opioid abuse became prevalent in the USA, the Sackler family hoped to cash in on the overdose drug NARCAN.
Perdue Pharmaceuticals has been sued by over 1,000 government entities, with many claiming they played a major role in the record numbers of overdose deaths.
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