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Opioid Manufacturers Paid Millions to Groups That Lobbied for More Opioid Usage, Senate Investigation Claims

Opioid Manufacturers Paid Millions to Groups That Lobbied for More Opioid Usage, Senate Investigation Claims | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

“It’s appalling that some companies deliberately misled patients and doctors, helping to fuel the epidemic we have today," Senator Claire McCaskill told Newsweek.


Major opioid manufacturers paid millions of dollars to groups that lobbied for increased opioid usage in the last five years, a Senate investigation claimed on Monday.


The investigation explored the financial ties between major opioid manufacturers and advocacy groups working in opioid policy. It found that many of the advocacy groups may have "played a significant role" in the U.S. opioid epidemic. Between 2012 and 2017, five companies that produce top opioid products—Purdue, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Mylan, Insys Therapeutics and Depomed—together paid $8.8 million to 14 organizations that, according to the report, promoted opioid prescription, attempted to downplay the risk of addiction to opioids and lobbied against restrictions on overprescription.


“Many of these opioid manufacturers engaged in a long, systemic campaign to increase prescriptions and profits at the expense of the American public,” Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who spearheaded the investigation, told Newsweek. “It’s appalling that some companies deliberately misled patients and doctors, helping to fuel the epidemic we have today.” 


Executive Summary of the Report 

This report provides the first comprehensive snapshot of the financial connections between opioid manufacturers and advocacy groups and professional societies operating in the area of opioids policy. Drawing on disclosures from Purdue Pharma L.P., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Mylan N.V., Depomed, Inc., and Insys Therapeutics, Inc., in response to requests from Ranking Member McCaskill, the sections below describe nearly $9 million in payments from these manufacturers to 14 outside groups working on chronic pain and other opioid-related issues between 2012 and 2017. In addition, physicians affiliated with these groups accepted more than $1.6 million in payments from the five manufacturers between 2013 and the present. In total, the five manufacturers have made more than $10 million in payments to these groups and affiliated individuals since January 2012.


Initiatives from the groups in this report often echoed and amplified messages favorable to increased opioid use—and ultimately, the financial interests of opioid manufacturers. These groups have issued guidelines and policies minimizing the risk of opioid addiction and promoting opioids for chronic pain, lobbied to change laws directed at curbing opioid use, and argued against accountability for physicians and industry executives responsible for overprescription and misbranding. Notably, a majority of these groups also strongly criticized 2016 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that recommended limits on opioid prescriptions for chronic pain—the first national standards for prescription opioids and a key federal response to the ongoing epidemic.


The fact that these same manufacturers provided millions of dollars to the groups described below suggests, at the very least, a direct link between corporate donations and the advancement of opioids friendly messaging. By aligning medical culture with industry goals in this way, many of the groups described in this report may have played a significant role in creating the necessary conditions for the U.S. opioids epidemic.


Further Reading: “Attacking the Root of the Opioid Crisis - Pharmaceutical Companies”; http://bit.ly/2waNC4w

“Newtown Has a 24/7 Drug Drop Box”; http://bit.ly/2nyCKuS


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Newtown News of Interest
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources that may be of interest to Newtown area residents. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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