Opioid Crisis - Same Old Story
In the Minneapolis Star Tribune on August 11 there was a front page article in the science and health section which discussed how the purveyors of the opioids which have ravaged this country made such a killing. Internal documents from the opioid manufacturers showed how they conspired with the distributors of the drugs to evade public scrutiny and fatten their bottom-line. The article goes on to point out that the industry shipped 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills from 2006 to 2012. "They were distributed like a flash flood, spiking from 8.4 billion in 2006 to 12.6 billion in 2012." While a lot of the publicity that we have seen lately concerns Perdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, data shows that during the height of the crisis (2006 through 2012) Perdue's sales represented only 3% of the market. At the top of this chain were the generic drug companies which very few people have ever heard of. The data showed that the pills surged most dramatically into Central Appalachia, particularly coal country, as well as other poverty-stricken areas.
Right now the courts are grappling with some 2000+ separate lawsuits which have been combined in Cleveland under the auspices of a federal judge. Any settlement that results from this litigation will be along the lines of what happened with the tobacco industry.