News Roundup: May 4, 2018

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Credit: Charlotte (Unsplash)

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By Roger Parloff

This week’s New York Times Magazine story about Insys Therapeutics—whose founder and six top former officials have all been criminally charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act—is a rip-roaring yarn, but one that also reveals severe problems with US pharmaceutical marketing practices. Continue reading “News Roundup: May 4, 2018”

Prosecutor Dave Aronberg on the ‘Florida Shuffle’: Lethal Fraud in the Opioid Detox Industry

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QUICK TAKEAWAY:
  • In a Q&A, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and his chief assistant describe how bad actors in the drug detox industry use illegal gifts and kickbacks to prey on out-of-state drug addicts.  
  • In the past year and a half, Aronberg’s office has arrested 45 for alleged involvement in such schemes, convicting 16 so far.
  • To improve this situation, Aronberg recommends reforms to the Affordable Care Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Federal Housing Act.

Continue reading “Prosecutor Dave Aronberg on the ‘Florida Shuffle’: Lethal Fraud in the Opioid Detox Industry”

News Roundup: April 17, 2018

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Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

By Roger Parloff

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As of yesterday, 598 lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors, brought mainly by municipalities, were pending before US District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland. That was a 38% increase over the number before him just 30 days earlier: 433.

Continue reading “News Roundup: April 17, 2018”

Leading Pain Doctors Face Scores of Opioid Lawsuits

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Exhibit filed in October 2017 in Coordinated Opioid Litigation in Supreme Court, Suffolk County, NY.
QUICK TAKEAWAY:
  • Leading physicians in pain management face scores of lawsuits in which municipalities have named them as codefendants along with manufacturers like Purdue Pharma.
  • The most frequently sued are Lynn Webster, Perry Fine, and Scott Fishman, who face at least 80 suits in federal court, and dozens more in state courts.
  • Leading pain authority Russell Portenoy, M.D., faces at least 18 suits in federal court, as well as others in state court.
  • The doctors, who allegedly accepted lucrative payments from manufacturers for research, consulting, and speaking fees, are accused of understating the risks of opioids in public statements without scientific foundation. They or their attorneys declined comment.

Continue reading “Leading Pain Doctors Face Scores of Opioid Lawsuits”

Q&A (Pt 1): Opioid Activist Andrew Kolodny Outlines the Origins of the Epidemic

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Slide Prepared by Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing
QUICK TAKEAWAY:
  • Kolodny describes hate mail, death threats by angry pain patients.
  • He argues (using charts) that epidemic started in 1996, with Purdue Pharma’s unprecedented marketing campaign for OxyContin.
  • He argues (with charts) that false “unbranded marketing,” minimizing risks of opioid painkillers, boosted sales of all prescription opioids.
  • He describes “ah ha” moment in 2006, when he read a study showing that as opioid prescriptions skyrocketed, so did deaths from prescription opioid overdose.
  • Hundreds of lawsuits by municipalities against Purdue Pharma and others today focus on allegedly false, unbranded marketing. Kolodny helped present an overview of the plaintiffs’ case in January at a settlement conference in federal court in Cleveland.

Continue reading “Q&A (Pt 1): Opioid Activist Andrew Kolodny Outlines the Origins of the Epidemic”