Rudy Giuliani, who is being considered for a position in president elect Donald Trump’s cabinet, has ties to Purdue Pharma, the maker of
According to the New York Times, Giuliani “used his clout with the Justice Department to press the federal authorities to offer a less onerous punishment to the company after allegations that security problems at its warehouses might have contributed to black market sales.”
In 2007, Purdue — then called Purdue Frederick —
pleaded guilty to “charges it misled doctors and patients about the addiction risks of the powerful narcotic painkiller OxyContin,” ABC News reported at the time.
The Times, in its own 2007 story, detailed how, in 2002, Purdue hired “Mr. Giuliani and his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, to help stem the controversy about OxyContin. Among Mr. Giuliani’s missions was the job of convincing public officials that they could trust Purdue because they could trust him.”
Giuliani spoke to the Times for Tuesday’s story, but the Purdue relationship wasn’t addressed. The story focuses on his relationships with foreign governments — because Giuliani is being considered for Secretary of State. He has also reportedly been considered for Attorney General.
Back in 2007, he reportedly told the Associated Press that Giuliani Partners acted ethically and legally.
The United States is suffering from a deadly opioid epidemic, especially in rural areas, thanks to the widespread use of drugs like OxyContin as pain killers.
For example, in 2012 259 million prescriptions were written for opioid drugs in America, which is more than enough to give every adult in the country a bottle according to the American Society for Medicine. Half a million Americans have died from opioid overdoses from 2000 to 2014.
Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) called for the Justice Department and other government agencies to investigate the company. That was after a Los Angeles Times report found that OxyContin wears out early in a lot of patients, making them more vulnerable to addiction.
STAT News also recently published a chilling report describing how Purdue used aggressive tactics to ensure that health officials in West Virginia could not limit the prescription of the drug.
“We were screaming at the wall,” said Tom Susman, who headed the state’s public employee insurance agency in the early 2000s and led the push to limit OxyContin prescribing in West Virginia.
“We saw it coming,” he said of the opioid epidemic, which today causes 28,000 overdose deaths a year in the United States. “Now to see the aftermath is the most frustrating thing I have ever seen.”
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