Purdue Pharma: OxyContin Powerhouse Under Investigation


Erin Spicer, Staff Writer |

Purdue Pharma, one of the world’s leading producers of OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2019. The company has recently requested 34 million dollars of the company’s money be used to pay out their employees who exceeded target performances. Whether or not this money will be awarded will be decided by U.S. bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in October.

As many Americans are now aware, our country is in the mist

 of an opioid epidemic. This is the result of companies, such as Purdue Pharma, “intentional[ly] misrepresents about the safety of opioids, over many years” (Linda Lacewell, NY Dept. of Finance Services Superintendent). The result of these misrepresentations has caused our opioid epidemic by downplaying the addictive nature of OxyContin to both healthcare services and patients, and has lead to thousands of people bring addicted to the drug every year, as well as a rise in overdose deaths every year. Purdue Pharma, as well as other pharmaceutical companies, are a part of an ongoing investigation to determine the damage that has been done to thousands of people all over the United States. Purdue Pharma alone has driven up the costs of health insurance for New York consumers to around two billion dollars.

Due to the implications Purdue Pharma is facing, New York officials and citizens are outraged at the company’s request. If granted, that bonus would equal a pay-out of 50,000 dollars per employee. Many officials, such as Linda Lacewell, argue that number is grossly excessive. To the argument that the employees of Purdue were simply doing their job, and doing it well, Lacewell pointed out that by exceeding the performance targets (selling OxyContin) these employees arguably contributed to the opioid crisis. Every aspect of the target performances, especially incentive bonuses, may have contributed to the misrepresented promotion of OxyContin.

Governor Andrew Cuomo commented on Purdue’s request stating “every penny of this 34 million should go directly to those victimized by this opioid scheme, as well as taxpayers who have seen their health insurance costs go up to help cover the costs of addiction treatment.” 

In the wake of events such as this, it is important to be aware of those around you. Here are some important facts to know about opioid abuse: around twenty three percent of people who use opioids will become addicted, for alcohol it’s is fifteen percent. Opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled since the year 2000; a direct result of false advertising by pharmaceutical companies. Less than ten percent of people who seek help for addiction get the help that they need. Professional help is almost always needed with opioid addiction, and it is costly, both financially and emotionally for patients. Doctors prescribe enough opioids a year to medicate every American for three weeks. Opioid addiction doesn’t discriminate, and access to affortable treatment is essential for ending the opioid crisis.

In order to make treatment available for everyone, several factors must be addressed: the costs of treatment, the stigma around addiction, and education about the signs of opioid addiction. Signs include: trouble staying awake, constricted pupils, withdrawing from friends and family, impulsivity and mood swings, and losing interest in activities once enjoyed.

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