Netflix hit ‘Painkiller’ shows how Purdue Pharma’s greed and deceit fueled a nationwide opioid epidemic. Barry Meier was the first to uncover the truth.
I'm have my Doctorate of Pharmacy. I was in the field at the time the opioid pandemicwas occurring. We all saw it. I personally, on my off days, went to Doctor's offices to tell them about the doses they were prescribing and how it needed to drop. They didn't stop. They were following the "guidelines."
All of us practicing saw it. But we were silent. We saw this on the grounds first, and now it's just coming into the mainstream narrative.
This is why I'm so vocal about the pandemic and the measures we took. Sure we were trusting the science, but what I learned from the first pandemic (the opioid pandemic) is that they're two sciences. There's the science that's hidden (aka this stuff is destroying homes), then there's the science that's the guidelines (trust the science)
We need to learn from the opioid pandemic and apply those same lessons to all pandemics. Here are a few articles I've written from the medical aspect of things:
Why we need Question the Science: https://unorthodoxy.substack.com/p/how-trust-the-science-became-question
The Dark Side of Medicine: https://unorthodoxy.substack.com/p/the-dark-side-of-medicine-see-no
Thank you for your work on this but I still feel that all of the stories on the medical opioid crisis miss the real tipping point. OxyContin abuse was terrible in limited areas, Appalachia being ground zero. This could have been controlled through the DOJ. The real problem began when opioids became the solution to all pain and the government endorsed that view, top to bottom. A letter to the editor in the New England Journal of medicine about inpatient opioids not leading to addiction became the bedrock of the “non-addiction” fallacy. The Veterans Affairs administration, WHO, all medical societies, all medical boards supported opioids for pain. Doctors were sanctioned for not prescribing. The logic was much like the current transgender logic. If you don’t subscribe opioids you are going to have mass suicide from patients in pain. Suicide does happen but overdose happens 10X+ more. The sad fact is that the science on opioids has been known for over 2,000 years. We just fail to learn. The story I have yet to see is how government/institutional capture moved this issue from Appalachia to the nation.
I'm a bit disappointed that this article doesn't explain WHY OxyContin turned out to be so addictive. Because that is the biggest of all the crimes that Purdue committed: massaging research to make it look like the drug's effects actually lasted as long as they claimed, and demanding that doctors prescribe higher doses instead of more frequent ones.
And all for the money, since insurance companies would not have agreed to pay the higher price of OxyContin (as compared to oxycodone, long available as a generic drug), since "less frequent doses" was the only selling point of the new drug.
In effect, Purdue created a situation that CAUSED addiction. When people are made desperate for their next dose, and the doses are high, addiction will be the inevitable result. This was truly a crime against humanity.
“Here’s a peer reviewed study that says heroin is not addictive.”
But wait a minute. I have been assured over the last 3 years that large pharma is our benevolent friend. To question them is to question science itself, said The NY Times and other major media outlets.
I suspect if opioids were the topic today, the Sacklers would have just gotten our media and tech heroes to banish “deniers” from as many platforms as possible. Ah, how far our media has fallen!
No doubt Purdue and other companies are major malefactors in this topic. But don’t think for a moment the larger medical community wasn’t right there with them, driving the addiction crisis, based on a bleeding heart approach to medical care. I was a medical student in the mid 90s. Over the course of the next decade, I remember the New England Journal of Medicine scientific and editorial articles which advocated aggressive treatment of non cancer, non orthopedic pain with narcotics (go look them up). I remember the inpatient plans of care and standard order forms which allowed physicians to merely check off mega doses of narcotics for minor conditions, titrating narcotics for low levels of pain. I remember the Medical Grand Rounds lectures which proposed making pain the fifth vital sign in accordance with national medical society directives and academic papers. And let me tell you, the vast majority of those who pushed this mentality were not on the payroll of pharma. They were do-gooder, bleeding-heart, tenure- or notoriety-seeking, power/fame hungry and/or greedy doctors who saw an opportunity to signal virtue by lamenting why we would ever let any person experience even the slightest pain without treating it aggressively. I eventually became a critical doctor in the mid aughts and for the next ten years, took care of literally hundreds of overdoses, out of and even in the hospital. Little old ladies (forgive the pejorative term), most of them relatively naive to narcotics, who were in hospital for a fracture and were prescribed doses of dilaudid (higher potency than oxycodone, not as high as fentanyl) that would put me to sleep for a week. Hospitals were strongly disincentivized by Medicare and private insurance value based purchasing schemes and patient satisfaction scores to manage pain carefully and sensibly, let alone conservatively. ER doctors were literally told by administrators to prescribe narcotics more aggressively for fear of lower patient satisfaction scores. What I remember most vividly through all that was the virtue signaling that was everywhere among doctors. Nurses and pharmacists, god bless them, were often more likely to see the danger, but had no power. Blame bad actors in pharma, sure, because they deserve it and were greedily fanning the flames behind the scenes. But we won’t fully understand the origin of the problem, nor prevent future health care delivery-driven disasters, unless we examine the health care delivery industry’s original woke mind virus approach to patient care that was the tip of the spear.
I find it extraordinary that whistleblowers continue to be ignored in medical scandals of epic proportions, eg opioids, paediatric transition, and in the UK, the recent case of a neonatal nurse murdering babies.
What a bunch of bullsh... What drove the opioid epidemic was the Federal Government. Starting in the late 80 early 90 pain management became a big deal. At that time Medicine was generally accused of not caring of patients were in pain. Nursing curriculum changed "pain as the 5th vital sign".... The Joint Commission would come in and decertify hospitals based on how well they managed pain.
Did Pharma company’s make money on policies dictated by the feds... yea. But the Government of the United States drove the disaster.
Wrong headline. The biggest pharma scandal of our lifetime is the gain of function Covid virus, public health pushing lockdowns, business closure and mandates of bad drugs and mRNA transfection drugs as vaccines killing and injuring millions world wide.
Please don’t think I am defending Purdue. I’m not. But relieving chronic pain that doesn’t respond to other meds is an honorable goal. Just be around someone with unrelenting pain who is told no, morphine is too addictive, sorry.
I look forward to the story of all the people suffering from the adverse effects of the new, strong marijuana that they govt let on the market, with the fantasy that it’s fine, no adverse effects.
When history analyzes the utter breakdown of institutional trust in our society over the past several decades, this scandal will rank among the most devastating.
I hope the members of the Sackler family who were involved in this rot in hell.
Biggest scandal? Really? As all this mRNA vaccine stuff is literally still happening? Try not to break your own arm patting yourself on the back Barry
The opioid epidemic is, of course, devastating. But I wonder when we’ll mount the same battle against alcohol. 280,000 people died from opioids over ten years. In that same time, 1.4 MILLION died from alcohol. When will we fight that industry? When will we invest seriously in helping alcoholics recover? For example, I know there are monthly injectable drugs that help reduce cravings for opioid addicts. They only have to have that willpower once a month. Where’s a similar drug for alcoholics? I know there are voluntary registries for gambling addicts to place themselves on so that they aren’t allowed access to casinos in moments of weakness. Where’s that registry for alcoholics who want to quit?
The opioid crisis is big and ugly and deserves the attention it gets. I just don’t understand why alcohol abuse doesn’t get the same attention. Its numbers are far bigger. AND, unlike most other drugs, it kills people who have never even touched it. Every single day in the United States, 37 people die in drunk driving incidents, many of whom never took a single sip.
When will the media give this epidemic its deserved attention? I know it’s not as sexy, with the rich pharma executives and the scandals. But if what we care about are lives ruined, families destroyed, and lives ended, then Free Press, put a spotlight on alcoholism, the alcohol lobby, and the for-profit “recovery” industry that thrives on repeat customers…and bills insurance for it.
And yet, shockingly, you label those of us who question the lack of adequate safety testing for the vaccines given to our babies, “anti-vaxers”. You still “trust the science” in giving 72 vaccines to children for diseases that are treatable with existing remedies. The studies are there, the research has been done, the autism and other chronic disease rates have skyrocketed in direct proportion to the number of vaccines given. And you still, refuse to acknowledge RFK jr, as the only candidate willing to tackle big pharma and this issue. Big Pharma is mind blowingly corrupt - falsifying studies, lying, lobbying, lining the pockets of all of the politicians, on both sides of the aisle, and destroying anyone who dares to questions them. Hopefully, one day, you will actually let these pediatricians and whistleblowers present their facts and documentation on the dangers of these vaccines. I just saw two speak the other night on the FLCCC webinar. The information is there. The Free Press is just choosing to ignore it.
So as our politicians would say, "Someone did something, what's the big deal"?
Follow all of the money donations to politicians and organizations and then put this absolutely soulless family and then those connected to them in prison or on the streets in Philly, SF, Chicago, NYC, DC, Portland, Seattle, and other cities infected with their greed, corruption, and absolutely evil intent with money, fame, and power as the ultimate drug!
This is what old school reporters did. Dig deep to find the story. Today you would get the NYT, CNN, MSNBC, and probably all of the others saying this is a political hit job to damage our beloved, caring, and dedicated political leaders. Plus look, they hung up some paintings or built a building with their name on it, plus they fully support all of the alphabet groups who will march in our name.
Ah, but please ignore all of the addicts on the street, as we had nothing to do with that. Can't make this absolutely evil stuff up. Unfortunately, no one will ever go to jail for this, but people will continue to bury family members and China and Mexico have found a great way to help kill so many.
Barry - A lot of folks talk as if the opioid epidemic is over, now that a root cause is identified. Is it? I worry whether liberalizing cannabis is having a continuing impact.