Owners of Company That Makes Oxycontin Boasted the Drug Would Create a “Prescription Blizzard”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey sued Purdue Pharma, its executives, and members of the Sackler family who own the company. They are accused of deceiving patients and doctors about the the risk of addiction to their opioid drugs and for pressuring doctors to keep their patients on the drugs indefinitely. The complaint alleges that Richard Sackler disregarded the health and lives of patients in favor of profits, especially if Oxycontin could be marketed as a “non-narcotic”. Richard bragged that “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…” When deaths from overdosing on OxyContin could no longer to be ignored, Sackler devised a corporate strategy to blame the victims for misusing their unethical products. Purdue even announced that physical dependence on opioids is not dangerous and, instead, improves quality of life. Doctors were told that signs of addiction were ‘pseudoaddiction’ and should be treated by prescribing more of the drug. -GEG

AP:

A member of the family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma told people at the prescription opioid painkiller’s launch party in the 1990s that it would be “followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition,” according to court documents filed Tuesday.

The details were made public in a case brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey that accuses Purdue Pharma, its executives and members of the Sackler family of deceiving patients and doctors about the risks of opioids and pushing prescribers to keep patients on the drug longer. The documents provide information about former Purdue Pharma President Richard Sackler’s role in overseeing sales of OxyContin that hasn’t been public before.

[…]According to the filing, Richard Sackler, then senior vice president responsible for sales, told the audience at the launch party to imagine a series of natural disasters: an earthquake, volcanic eruption, hurricane and blizzard.

“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,” he said, according to the documents.

“Over the next twenty years, the Sacklers made Richard’s boast come true,” lawyers in the attorney general’s office wrote. “They created a manmade disaster. Their blizzard of dangerous prescriptions buried children and parents and grandparents across Massachusetts, and the burials continue,” they wrote.

full filing
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