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opioid crisis

J&J 'worse' than Purdue Pharma expert witness says

The role Johnson & Johnson played in the opioid crisis was ‘in some ways worse’ than that of Purdue Pharma, an expert witness said in the Oklahoma trial of J&J.

Dr Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, has said that healthcare conglomerate J&J may have played a bigger role in the opioid crisis than the Sackler owned firm Purdue Pharma.

Oklahoma prosecutors say J&J used 'brainwashing campaign' to boost opioid sales

Oklahoma state prosecutors have accused Johnson & Johnson of engaging in a “cynical, deceitful, multibillion-dollar brainwashing campaign” to boost sales of opioid drugs.

The healthcare conglomerate played a leading role in fuelling “the worst manmade health crisis in the history of the country and the state,” Oklahoma’s attorney general, Mike Hunter said.

The firm ignored research on the dangers of painkillers as they sought to “establish opioid analgesics as the magic drug.”

UK GPs are underequipped to handle growing chronic opioid use, report warns

New research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) has argued that general practitioners (GPs) in the UK are lacking the skills needed to adequately handle chronic opioid use in their patients, and the psychological challenges which come with the goal of managing and reducing their use of the addictive and often harmful drugs.

The release of the report follows significant findings which show that the number of opioid prescriptions in England and Wales had rocketed by 60% over a ten-year period, rising from 14 million in 2008 to reach 23 million in 2018.

Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor found guilty of bribing doctors

The founder of opioid drugmaker Insys Therapeutics has been found guilty of bribing doctors in order to persuade them to prescribe the fentanyl-based painkiller Subsys.

A Boston jury found John Kapoor guilty of racketeering conspiracy after the billionaire pharma chief was found to have bribed doctors and defrauded insurance companies, as part of an effort to boost sales of the sublingual fentanyl spray Subsys.

While Subsys had been approved for patients with terminal cancer, the company targeted patients with non-life threatening chronic pain.

Former pharma wholesaler execs face criminal charges over opioid crisis

Image Credit: SHAWN DOWD/@sdowdphoto/

Laurence Doud III, the former CEO of New York-based Rochester Drug Co-operative (RDC) – one of the largest drug distributors in the United States – has been charged with conspiring to distribute illegal narcotics and conspiring to defraud the United States.

The charges against CEO Doud, chief compliance officer William Pietruszewski and the company itself, stand out as the first criminal charges to be filed against a pharma firm in relation to the opioid crisis.  

Opioid crisis cost US government nearly $38 billion in lost taxes

The opioid epidemic may have cost US state and federal governments as much as $37.8 billion in lost tax revenue, according to researchers from Pennsylvania State University.

Opioid related loss of employment cost the government billions in lost tax revenue between the years 2000 and 2016, the research says.

The state of Pennsylvania was found to be one of the biggest losers, having lost around $638.2 million in income and sales taxes, the study published in the journal Medical Care says.

Indivior shares fall by 70% after allegations of fraud

Image Credit: Jr de Barbosa

Shares in London-listed Indivior plummeted this morning after US Federal prosecutors said the British drugmaker had deceived doctors as to the dangers of its Suboxone opioid addiction treatment.

Indivior were alleged to have used their ‘Here to Help’ program “to connect patients to doctors it knew were prescribing Suboxone and other opioids to more patients than allowed by federal law, at high doses, and in suspect circumstances.”

Sacklers file motion to throw lawsuit out of court

Members of the Sackler family have asked a judge to throw a lawsuit – filed by Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey – out of court.

The Sacklers, who claim the lawsuit contains “misleading and inflammatory allegations,” argued that Healey’s suit had mischaracterised internal records as part of an effort to create the “false impression” that the Sacklers themselves had directed Purdue Pharma’s marketing of the opioid painkiller OxyContin.

Purdue Pharma settle Oklahoma lawsuit for $270 million

OxyContin drugmaker Purdue Pharma has agreed to pay nearly $270 million to the state of Oklahoma, in order to settle a case brought about by the Oklahoma Attorney General over the company’s role in the opioid crisis.

The case launched by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, is the first to be settled after Hunter launched a series of lawsuits against Purdue, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva in 2017.

Specialists petition FDA over opioid approval process

FDA officials have called on the federal agency to halt the approval of new narcotic painkillers.

Dr Sidney Wolfe, a former member of the FDA’s drug safety committee, and Dr Raeford Brown, the present chair of the agency’s opioid advisory committee, have launched a formal process to prevent the FDA from approving new opioids.

The doctors claim the FDA has failed to acknowledge the ongoing opioid crisis as they submitted a petition to for a process which would force the FDA to consider the impact of opioid painkillers before any more are approved.

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