The Sackler family, the private owners of Purdue Pharma, announced this week that Richard Sackler has obtained a patent to produce a new drug, which will reportedly be a treatment for opiate addiction. This news is sadly ironic considering that Purdue is the company behind OxyContin, an opiate-based pharmaceutical that was widely used for many years leading to one of the worst addiction epidemics in American history.
Purdue, along with several other companies who knowingly pushed opioids on people who did not need them, is facing more than 300 lawsuits from city and county authorities across the country. To make matters even worse, Purdue was well aware of the risk of addiction that their products posed, but continued to target doctors who were known to easily prescribe painkillers.
As TFTP previously reported, Purdue Pharma, under the guidance of brothers Arthur, Raymond, and Mortimer Sackler, began a propaganda campaign to push their drugs, as described in The American Journal of Public Health, “The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin: Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy.”
An investigative report from the Daily Caller revealed that Purdue has given $2.3 million to politicians to ensure that the drug pipeline for the “drug cartel” stays open, further enriching the Sackler family—and that is just what is traceable. Many people credit the Sackler family as a primary contributor to the opiate crisis in the United States. Now this family who made billions from peddling their opiates to the masses are positioning themselves to make more billions off of selling more opiates—this time, however, they are marketing it as the cure though.
To temper the controversy against the company, Purdue has been pouring large amounts of money into repairing their image, including a $3.4 million donation to help develop a low-cost Naloxone nasal spray. Unfortunately, as with many other competing products on the market today, the new drug that Sackler secured a patent for, is itself opiate based, and really only works to slightly lessen the symptoms of withdrawal so a person can more easily wean themselves off the drug.
According to StatNews:
The patent concerns a new formulation of buprenorphine, one of the medications shown to help people with opioid addiction. It is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration in tablet and film form, but the patent describes a wafer that could dissolve even faster than existing forms when put under the tongue.
The FDA has no problem allowing the family who got the country hooked on opiates to begin selling another opiate-based prescription. While creating solutions to the opioid crisis is an inherently good and necessary move, the intentions of the company behind the epidemic that claims 115 lives every day must be drawn into question.
As the lawsuits against them allege, Purdue deceived patients and doctors about the risks of opioids, pushed prescribers to keep patients on the drugs longer and aggressively targeted vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and veterans.
“Their strategy was simple: the more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more people died,” Massachusetts state attorney general Maura Healey said, and she’s right.
Now, this same company will sell even more opioids. Meanwhile, the FDA is attempting to criminalize Kratom, a natural herb that has been known to help people get off opiates. It seems almost as if the FDA is actually more concerned with keeping people on opiates and protecting pharmaceutical companies than they are with keeping people safe.