Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, May 10, 2007

An Outstanding Definition Of Evil

My wife is (Muslims cover your ears!) a bit of a crusader. She crusades so kids will make better choices when it comes to drugs, and through her work, she's met many, many families who have lost children and siblings to drug addiction and deaths.

So I knew she'd be gleeful when I passed this news along to her ... and she was:
ROANOKE, Va. (AP)- The maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin and three of its current and former executives pleaded guilty Thursday to misleading the public about the drug's risk of addiction, a federal prosecutor and the company said.

Purdue Pharma L.P., its president, top lawyer and former chief medical officer will pay $634.5 million in fines for claiming the drug was less addictive and less subject to abuse than other pain medications, U.S. Attorney John Brownlee said.

The plea agreement settled a national case and came two days after the Stamford, Conn.-based company agreed to pay $19.5 million to 26 states and the District of Columbia to settle complaints that it encouraged physicians to overprescribe OxyContin.

"With its OxyContin, Purdue unleashed a highly abusable, addictive, and potentially dangerous drug on an unsuspecting and unknowing public," Brownlee said. "For these misrepresentations and crimes, Purdue and its executives have been brought to justice."

Privately held Purdue learned from focus groups with physicians in 1995 that doctors were worried about the abuse potential of OxyContin. The company then gave false information to its sales representatives that the drug had less potential for addiction and abuse than other painkillers, the U.S. attorney said.

There is an entire internet community of people who hate Purdue for creating a drug that gave them a huge market of addicts they could exploit and ruin so they could get fabulously rich. For years, this desperate and deeply hurt community has been crying for justice and they are finally getting it.

But justice won't bring back dead kids and it won't free addicts from addiction.

If ever there were three men deserving of the hottest circle of Hell, they are Purdue chief executive officer Michael Friedman, general counsel Howard Udell and former chief medical officer Paul Goldenheim. Burn for eternity. [OK, commenter Pam, you're right. I pray for their salvation. But if they're not saved, then burn for eternity.]

Purdue still is in business and said in a news release today, "During the past six years, we have implemented changes to our internal training, compliance and monitoring systems that seek to assure that similar events do not occur again."

This was not about training, compliance or monitoring. It was about willful action and deliberate cover-up. Purdue will not survive because today's guilty pleas opened the floodgate, and the lawsuits will follow, with settlements of tobacco-esque proportions.

But settlements won't bring back dead kids and free addicts from addition.

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