I read an article recently that made me scratch my head in wonder. The title of the article is Oxycontin Maker Pleads Guilty and Shuts Down. I was very interested to read the details and thought that after reading it I would be able to cheer. However, that was not my take-away.
I’m sharing parts of the article a little further on in this piece so you can see exactly what I’m talking about. But first I want to provide definitions for the two words that make up the title of this piece.
It can treat moderate to severe pain. High risk for addiction and dependence. Can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses or when combined with other substances, especially alcohol.
Oxymoron: A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.
Example: Jumbo shrimp
Now To The Story
The article I’m going to share excerpts from is about the Sackler family. That’s the family that owned Purdue Pharma which created and marketed Oxycontin and is responsible for creating the opioid epidemic, not just in this country but around the world. If you’ve been following the story, you may know that the Sacklers were considering filing for bankruptcy back in early 2019 while they were facing “an estimated 2,600 lawsuits relating to its role in creating the opioid epidemic.”
Instead of filing for bankruptcy, “court documents reveal the Sacklers transferred more than $10 billion of the company’s funds into family trusts. They fraudulently transferred company funds into trusts and offshore accounts owned by members of the Sackler family in an effort to shield assets from litigation. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/11/04/purdue-pharma-pleads-guilty.aspx
The article also mentions a New York complaint charging “Purdue with secretly setting up a new company, Rhodes Pharma, in 2007 while the company was being investigated by federal prosecutors, as a way to protect the Sacklers from the mounting OxyContin crisis and continue their profit scheme.6 Rhodes Pharma makes generic opioids, allowing the Sacklers to benefit from the opioid epidemic both in terms of brand name sales and generic sales.” And, “according to a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts,10 Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers sought to increase opioid prescriptions while simultaneously developing overdose treatment to boost its profits.” https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/11/04/purdue-pharma-pleads-guilty.aspx
Here’s Where It Gets Twisted
According to the article, “Purdue finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019.11 At the end of October 2020, Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges relating to its role in the opioid crisis, including violating a federal anti-kickback law, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.12,13
To settle the charges, Purdue is supposed to pay $8.3 billion in fines, forfeiture of past profits and civil liability payments.14 However, the company doesn’t have enough cash to cover the payments so, instead, Purdue Pharma will be dissolved, and its assets used to erect a “public benefit company,” in other words, a government-owned and controlled drug company.
This new company will reportedly be controlled by a trust that will “balance the trust’s interests against those of the American public and public health.”15 Future earnings from this public benefit company will be used to pay off the $8.3 billion penalty, which in turn is supposed to be used to combat the opioid crisis.”
Which means, “In essence, the government will now be in the business of making and selling opioids, the profits from which will then be used to combat opioid addiction.”
Now, that’s not exactly the same as Jumbo Shrimp, but it does sound oxymoronic, loopy in fact. It sounds like the government is following in the Sacklers’ footsteps. I’m not quite sure what to do besides scratch my head in wonderment. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how selling opioids will help combat opioid addiction.