Painkiller-Makers Pouring Money Into Communities, States That Are Suing Them Over Opioid Crisis
The companies are doling out money to nonprofits, in a move that could potentially be building goodwill ahead of the massive legal battle the industry is about to face. Meanwhile, KHN takes a look at how competition in the early days of the opioid push helped shape the companies' strategies.
Facing Wave Of Opioid Lawsuits, Drug Companies Sprinkle Charity On Hard-Hit Areas
The drug industry is dishing out millions in grants and donations to organizations in cities, counties and states that have sued the companies over the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic. The efforts could help makers and distributors of prescription painkillers, who face hundreds of lawsuits by communities across the country, reduce their tax bills and build goodwill ahead of a potential multibillion-dollar settlement over their role in a crisis that kills more than 100 Americans a day. (Hopkins, 8/2)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Jefferson County Among 11 Missouri Counties, Cities Suing Over 'Opioid Epidemic'
Ten Missouri counties, including Jefferson County, and the city of Joplin sued pharmacies, “pill mills” and the manufacturers and distributors of opioids Wednesday for reimbursement for the cost of fighting an “opioid epidemic.” The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court by lawyers from across the state, including the Clayton law firm Carey Danis & Lowe, says that the pain drugs have been misbranded and that manufacturers and distributors conspired to expand sales of the drug by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to convince the public and medical professionals that they should be used for long-term, chronic pain. (Patrick, 8/1)
Kaiser Health News:
How Rival Opioid Makers Sought To Cash In On Alarm Over OxyContin’s Dangers
As Purdue Pharma faced mounting criticism over deaths linked to OxyContin, rival drugmakers saw a chance to boost sales by stepping up marketing of similarly dangerous painkillers, such as fentanyl, morphine and methadone, Purdue internal documents reveal. Purdue’s 1996-2002 marketing plans for OxyContin, which Kaiser Health News made public this year for the first time, offer an unprecedented look at how that company spent millions of dollars to push opioids for growing legions of pain sufferers. A wave of lawsuits demanding reimbursement and accountability for the opioid crisis now ravaging communities has heightened awareness about how and when drug makers realized the potential dangers of their products. (Schulte, 8/2)
And in other news on the epidemic —
Mass. Opioid Bill Includes Help For Pain Patients
The bill on opioids that the Massachusetts Legislature approved late Tuesday contains several provisions that have nothing to do with combating opioid addiction, but instead aim to help people often seen as casualties of that fight — those suffering from chronic pain. Spooked by worries about addiction and poorly trained in pain management, many physicians have reduced or stopped prescribing medications for pain, and some avoid pain patients altogether, advocates say. (Freyer, 8/1)
Drug Addiction Treatment Site Gets Thousands Of Cincinnati Area Views
An addiction-treatment source in Greater Cincinnati that was designed to immediately link people to help has been used more than 10,000 times since it launched three months ago. ...Massachusetts remains one of just 14 states lacking a telehealth parity law for private insurance coverage, a policy that would guarantee remote medical services would be covered as extensively as in-person care. (DeMio, 8/1)