A class action suit against the infamous OxyContin pushers ended with Purdue Pharma agreeing to fork over $20 million—a drop in the bucket for this billionaire company that single-handedly started the American opiate epidemic.
The Canadian lawsuit involved allegations of “over-marketing,” which happens to be Purdue’s modus operandi, AKA, flooding the market (including knowingly supplying the black market) with their addictive pills and misleading information about them.
Purdue will pay up but with no admission of guilt.
“By resolving the suit, Purdue Pharma (Canada) makes no admissions of liability,” Sarah Manley Robertson, Purdue’s director of communications, said in an email per CBCnews.
The allegations, according to Canadian lawyer Ray Wagner, whose firm launched the class action suit in 2007, said Purdue was not informing users that OxyContin was addictive—a minor detail to leave out of the contraindications.
“Information in our allegation was basically that they were underreporting the addictiveness of the medication,” Wagner said.
He noted that his clients were typically prescribed OxyContin by a family physician for short-term injuries such as a sprained ankle.
But an addictive painkiller doesn’t work that way.
Some people found out the hard way. For others, it was too late.
“It near took my life away,” said Steven MacGillvary, 53, who was first prescribed OxyContin after he shattered a clavicle on the job in 2000. “Not only did it take the pain away, it took a lot of things away. It took my worries away and cares away and at the end of it, it near took my life away.”
Wagner explained how Oxy addiction has hit all sectors of society, from Olympic athletes to Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, workers and the elderly.
Not unlike U.S. society, where opioid addiction has destroyed entire cities.
Between 2000 and 2015, more than a half-million people died from drug overdoses, and the majority involved an opioid, just like OxyContin.
OxyContin hit the market in 1996, making Purdue Pharma a cool $45 million right out of the gate.
In the coming years, their cash cow painkiller put Purdue and its owners, the Sackler family, at number 16 on Forbes’ 2015 list of America’s Richest Families with a stunning $14 billion, most of which was earned from the sale of OxyContin. Feel free to curse loudly.
Meanwhile, since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids and heroin has quadrupled. Coincidence? We think not.
So, good job Canada for squeezing some dough out of these ruthless drug dealers.
Unfortunately, the opioid crisis continues with no end in sight, and an institutionally clueless administration in the White House does not have a single decent idea on how to deal with it.