NARCOTIC NATION: Should NJ sue Big Pharma over the rising opioid epidemic?

NARCOTIC NATION: Should NJ sue Big Pharma over the rising opioid epidemic?

Please allow me to preface this piece with a few comments. We all know about opioid abuse through so many articles presented by and sometimes the mainstream media.

In my book, “A Sane Diet for an Insane World”, I refer to “pimps”, “hookers” and “tricks”. The “pimps” are the pharmaceutical industry, the processed food companies and the other dead- body processing food companies. The “hookers” are the mainstream media, the medical profession and the government agencies. For the “tricks”, take a look in the mirror.

Recently, Tiger Woods, under the influence of drugs prescribed by a “hooker”, fell asleep behind the wheel of his car and could have lost his life.

As succinctly put by Jon Rappoport in his ‘Tiger Woods’ life is on the line: where is his doctor?’ article, “Where is the doctor or doctors who prescribed these drugs and is supposed to be monitoring Woods? Tiger Woods is another casualty of the US medical system, a person who has put himself under the control of doctors, who are prescribing highly dangerous drugs”.

This is a classic example of “pimps, hookers and tricks”.

On June 11, 2017, in the NJ Asbury Park Press, Ken Serrano, a reporter, wrote this incredible article, NARCOTIC NATION; Should New Jersey sue Big Pharma over the rising opioid epidemic?

Here goes (anything in parentheses are my comments):

““Drug companies should never place their desire for profits above the health and well-being of their customers (a euphemism for “tricks) or the communities where those customers live.”

So begins the first sentence of a 103-page lawsuit recently filed by the Ohio attorney general against opioid manufacturers. It alleges they purposely down-played the dangers associated with their products in order to make big profits.

The Ohio lawsuit follows a similar claim made in 2015 by Mississippi. That state, too, claims drug-makers should pay for the harm associated with their pain-killer products such as OxyContin and Percocet. Opioid-ravaged locales from Suffolk County on Long Island to Chicago have filed similar suits.

The suits claim that the pharmaceutical (or harmaceutical) companies used a variety of deceptive methods to kook new patients on opioids, and defrauded state taxpayers. Because opioids are such an addictive drug, abusers can pursue illegal narcotics like heroin, and even fatally overdose.

The list of lawsuits is growing as states and local governments reprise a play-book successfully wielded against tobacco companies in the 1990s.

More than 33,000 people in the U.S. died of opioid overdoses in 2015, which includes legal prescriptions and illegal narcotics, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (affectionately known as the Centers for Deceit Control and Procrastination).

Who hasn’t joined the line to the courthouse so far? The state of New Jersey, home to some of the largest pharmaceutical companies (“pimps”) in the world, but also a state with a high number of opioid-related deaths. More than 6,100 died in the last decade from heroin and morphine alone.

The drugs have caused so much harm across the nation that President Donald Trump made New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christi (an overweight, lying, corrupt, idiot) the head of a federal commission targeting opioid addiction.

But there is no indication that New Jersey is ready to sue. One possible reason: Conservative governors, by and large, do not like large-scale actions against companies (especially if they are big in the state and pay large amounts of taxes).

Christie’s office and the office of the Attorney General have not responded to requests for comment on the prospect of New Jersey filing or joining a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies (in other words, they do not want to bite the hand that feeds them).

Another reason: the state has been known as the “medicine chest of the world” because of the presence of major pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest companies in the world. J&J is defendant in the Ohio litigation (and cries out to Christie, “please don’t bite me!”).

The biopharmaceutical industry alone supports more than 379,000 jobs in New Jersey, second only to California, according to a May 2016 industry study that focused on 2014 data.

The industry – pharmaceuticals made out of biological products such as blood – adds $108 billion a year to the state’s economy, according to the study (“pimps and hookers” galore).

It’s and economic and a policy question all wrapped into one. For the state government, you have to know what kind of message you want to send (gimmie da money honey).

New Jersey’s government also differs from Mississippi and Ohio. The attorneys general of those two other states are elected officials who make the final decision when it comes to suing companies. In New jersey, the attorney general serves the governor (and bends over forward for him at his will) and enjoys autonomy only is criminal cases.

Complicating the picture is that Christie has dedicated the remainder of his term to fighting addiction (except for his addiction the the money that the “pimps” pay), vowing to bring more treatment beds to New Jersey (better to make the addicts more comfortable than to reduce income).

Could a lawsuit like Ohio’s pave the way for better treatment? The litigation against the tobacco companies in the 1990s may serve as a guide. In 2015, New Jersey received a total of $227 million from the 1998 tobacco settlement, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

And the opioid litigation is really following the tobacco playbook. The objective with the opioid litigation is the same. To recoup some of the money spent on the opioid crisis and force some behavioral changes.

Ohio alleges a broad range of civil claims, from Medicaid fraud to racketeering. The complaint stated that to take advantage of the lucrative market for chronic pain patients, each defendant developed a well-funded marketing scheme based on deception.

The defendants include Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin; Endo Health Solutions; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which has a subsidiary in New Jersey; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson; and Allergen, which sold its opioid manufacturing operation to Teva on August 2016.

The Ohio attorney general suit claims the companies;
•Used seemingly independent third parties to spread false and deceptive statements.
•Continue to spread those statements through direct marketing of their branded opioids and marketing through others.
•Used front groups to spread their word, like prominent doctors who were on the companies’ payroll.
•Exploited susceptible prescribers and vulnerable patients.
•Used fraudulent marketing to build record profits that cost state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to deal with the damage.

The companies have denied the allegations, either directly or indirectly. Drug-maker Janssen said the allegations are unfounded.

A spokesman for Allergen said that Allergen has a history of supporting, and continues to support, the safe, responsible use of prescriptions medications.

An Endo spokesperson said the company would “vigorously contest” the lawsuit, and that “our opioid products were approved by the FDA (Fatal Drugs Allowed) and were determined to be safe and effective when used as intended in appropriate patients” (nothing like a drug addict using drugs “appropriately”).

Purdue Pharma said in a statement that they share public officials’ concerns about opioid crisis and that they are committed to working collaboratively to find solutions (as long as it does not interfere with our profits).

They further said that pointing fingers will not solve the problem, nor will it help those who are suffering. We urge all stakeholders to seize the opportunity to work together so that collectively we can address the crisis (as long as our stock market prices do not decrease and our shareholders continue to flourish).

Teva said that it is committed to the appropriate promotion and use of opioids (what else is new?). We have programs in place that educate prescribers (tricks), pharmacists (hookers), and patients (customers) on the responsible and safe use of these products.

The Ohio lawsuit complaint lays out the cost to the state:
*Fatal drug overdoses costing taxpayers $2 billion in 2012.
*Medicaid spending of nearly $175 million for opioid prescriptions over 10 years.
*Treatment and counseling services costs of $462 million from 2014 to 2016’

In 2012, Ohio patients were prescribed 793 million doses – enough to supply every man, woman and child in the state with 68 pills each – and opioid overdoses rose from 296 in 2003 to 2,590 in 2015.

In New Jersey, 1,587 residents died of all drug overdoses in 2015.

In 2014, opioids generated $11 billion in profits for U.S. drug-makers.

David Noll, an associate professor at Rutgers School of Law in Newark who teaches civil procedure, complex litigation and interplay between private lawsuits and government regulation said that the defendants could wage a federal exemption defense. They could simply point a finger at the FDA’s approval of their practices, saying that exempts them from a state action. While the opioid litigation follows lines similar to the tobacco suits, there’s one key difference: with the opioid litigation, there’s a middleman. Defendant’s have over-prescribing doctors to blame (anything to make a buck).

He further said that the defendants could stress how the individual judgment of doctors about the appropriateness of treatment played into the process. The chain of causation between the pharmaceutical companies and the patients taking opioids is broken, explaining the rationale behind the defense. But, the complaint attempts to preempt that because their deceptive messages tainted virtually every source doctors could rely on for information and prevented them from making informed treatment decisions. Defendants also were able to harness and hijack what doctors wanted to believe – namely, that opioids represented a means of relieving their patients’ suffering and of practicing medicine more compassionately.

States began suing the tobacco makers in the mid-1990s, starting with Mississippi. The states sued over the expenditure of Medicaid and other funds due to smoking-related health problems. The lawsuit is premised on a simple notion: you caused the health crisis; you pay for it!

Eventually, four states, including Mississippi settled separately beginning in 1997 for about $35 billion. In 1998, the 46 other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and others were to receive more that $208 billion over the course of 25 years, with about $13 billion of it up front.

The settlements came with restrictions on marketing to children and other measures. Rapid changes followed. From 1998 to 2015, smoking among students fell in half, according to the CDC.

Local residents and officials in New Jersey involved with the opioid battle say it’s about time for the Ohio lawsuit. The American public has long been deceived. Just look at the path of destruction that’s been laid out by the pharmaceutical industry and the erosion of the family unit.

The Ohio complaint is clearly an indictment of the business community and our society.”

Let me add a bit more about corruption.

Back in 2003, in a fluoridation hearing I called Hawaii’s Dental Chief a liar in front of over 400 potential witnesses when he lied to get a fluoride bill passed. I actually begged him to sue me for defamation of character. It never happened because he knew if we went to court he would have to present the evidence he referred to, which never existed. That’s the good news.

The next Hawaii travesty was the implementation of the rail system. One of Hawaii’s Councilmen, Ikaika Anderson made a statement in a hearing that was a blatant lie. I called him Pinocchio on my radio show, which was heard statewide. He never sued me either because he knew that what he said was also a blatant lie. Unfortunately, the rest of Hawaii’s politicians from the Governor down opted for a rail system costing $500 million a mile rather that a better system that would have cost $65 million a mile. Why? In God we trust. All others pay cash!

Bear in mind that most all diseases can be cured with oxygen. The best source of oxygen is the organic sulfur crystals. My lifelong asthma has not reoccurred in over ten years.


[email protected]

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