McCaskill Opens Probe Into Opioid Drugmakers, But Omits Nation's Worst Offender From Her Home State

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Kyle Plantz via,

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., opened an investigation Tuesday into the role drug companies may have played in the nation’s opioid epidemic. She requested internal documents from five leading drugmakers on how they market opioid painkillers and if they knew anything about the dangers of the drugs. Yet, the top opioid prescription manufacturer, which is located in McCaskill’s home state in St. Louis, Missouri, is missing from the initial list of companies she’s investigating.

McCaskill requested internal sales and marketing materials, addiction studies, and contributions made to third-party advocacy groups that may have worked to block efforts to increase regulation of opioids. She sent the letter to Purdue Pharma, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Insys, Mylan, and Depomed.

However, according to data from IMS Health, an information services company for the healthcare industry, there are other companies who had a higher annual opioid prescription total in 2016 than some of the companies on McCaskill’s list, and the Missouri-based Mallinckrodt, the company with the highest annual total, was not mentioned in her announcement.

“It’s time to look at the manufacturers and find out what they knew about addiction … (and) what marketing practices did they use to push these drugs,” McCaskill told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday.


“We want to get to the bottom of why all of a sudden opioids have been handed out like candy in this country.”

In 2016, there were more than 236 million opioid prescriptions filled by 183 drug companies, according to IMS. Here’s the percentage of the total market share by prescription for the five companies mentioned by McCaskill:

  • Mylan: 6.7 million scripts or 2.84 percent of the total annual opioid prescriptions for 2016
  • Purdue: 4.8 million scripts or 2 percent
  • Depomed: 878,000 scripts or 0.37 percent
  • Janssen: 74,000 scripts or 0.03 percent
  • Insys: 33,000 scripts or 0.01 percent

The top manufacturer for opioid prescriptions last year was Mallinckrodt, which had more than 43.8 million prescriptions, accounting for approximately 18.6 percent of the total market share. However, the company didn’t receive a letter from McCaskill.

The Missouri-based drug company’s political action committee also donated $2,500 to McCaskill’s campaign coffers in September 2015, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission. No data was available for previous years. McCaskill will face reelection in 2018.

“This epidemic is the direct result of a calculated sales and marketing strategy major opioid manufacturers have allegedly pursued over the past 20 years to expand their market share and increase dependency on powerful — and often deadly — painkillers,” McCaskill wrote in the letter to the companies.


“To achieve this goal, manufactures have reportedly sought, among other techniques, to downplay the risk of addiction to their products and encourage physicians to prescribe opioids for all cases of pain and in high doses,” she added.

Mallinckrodt has previously been in the spotlight after agreeing in January to pay $100 million to settle allegations that a subsidiary broke U.S. antitrust law by significantly increasing the price of a multiple sclerosis drug.

Some of the other companies on her list have also received negative attention for misrepresenting or deceptively marketing painkillers. In 2007, Purdue Pharma paid $635 million in fines to settle criminal and civil charges due to the company’s misrepresentation of the addictive qualities of its OxyContin painkiller medication. Three executives of the company pleaded guilty to criminal misbranding.

McCaskill said her probe would focus on the five companies, but she suggested her investigation could expand to include other companies. It’s not immediately clear if the drug company Mallinckrodt from her own state would be on a future list.

Last year, a joint investigation by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found how drugmakers used lobbying and their deep war chests to undermine legislation aimed at curbing opioid prescribing practices.

The sale of opioid prescriptions has quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Opioid overdose deaths hit a record high in 2015, claiming the lives of more than 33,000 Americans.

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rlouis's picture

236 million scrips of opioids? Are you kidding?

Rainman's picture

 makes El Chapo look like Mary Poppins !!

GRDguy's picture

NOW you know why the US invaded Afghanistan, where 92% (UN numbers) of opium is grown.

Always follow the money; ignore political verbage.

froze25's picture

Before we went in it was under 10%. Remember the northern alliance, I know one of the people that negotiated the alliance with them, they were and still are the DRUG LORDS, the presidents bother of Afghanistan is the biggest one.

Giant Meteor's picture

It may be time for, you guessed it, The Candy Man Can!

(you can even eat the dishes!)

Everybody, sing !

Squid Viscous's picture

this is the old cunt that took Hillary's seat?

lol, good job New York!

centerline's picture

The voting preferences for big cities like LA and NY say a lot about the future of these shitholes.

Squid Viscous's picture

sorry i meant that kirsten hillenbrand dyke abomination

I am Jobe's picture

Drugged Up Nation. American whores 

SpanishGoop's picture

"donated $2,500 to McCaskill’s"

So she is one of the cheaper hookers....


Squid Viscous's picture

she'll be doing stand up in the McCatskills soon, hopefully

"my old job was a real gasser, nyuk nyuk nyuk"

divingengineer's picture

A top quality, Elliot Spitzer Class, call girl runs about $1,000 an hour for comparison.

So yeah, $2,500 for SIX YEARS breaks down to a little less than 5 Cents an hour.

I still think they overpaid. 

GRDguy's picture

Used to live in Missouri.  

She should have been voted out a long time ago.

Nothing to do with politics.

She just another Hillary (pure sociopath.)

dchang0's picture

I agree. She's been caught in brazen lies on national TV interviews similar to how Susan Rice lied to Chris Wallace's incredulous face about Benghazi being caused by a YouTube video. These politicians have already made up their mind to sacrifice any number of Americans and the public's interests to advance their own agenda.

Arnold Babar's picture

Gee Wally, isn't Congress going to call on the Commissioners, past and present, or even the Sec of Health & Human Svc, past and present?  Please, tell the American people how govt and big pharma have been in bed for years. 

Grandad Grumps's picture

The US citizens would be best served by returning market forces to the pharmaceutical industry. Let US citizens choose what they and their children are injected with and let them shop globally. If people think that only US made and monopoly controlled drugs are safe, then they can make that choice.

Pumpkin's picture

The states should sue the drug companies for deaths envolved.

Snaffew's picture

yup, and that will open the door for everyone who had a family member die of heart disease to sue every fast food company...people with hypertension can sue the coffee companies...where will it end?  Each and every person is responsible for their own actions.  These people did not have to take an opioid pain medicine.  People have known that opioids are addictive for thousands and thousands of years.  Ignorance, stupidity and weakness are the faults of the individual, not the corporations.

Bemused Observer's picture

The ignorance, stupidity and weakness of the consumers did not create these "Franken-drugs' that are potent way beyond any natural forms of the drug. It also did not lead to the direct advertising campaigns aimed at the CONSUMERS...which is odd considering that you can't GET these drugs without a prescription, so why are they even advertising them to us?


Make no mistake about it...this so-called "opiate epidemic" was designed and actively promoted by Big Pharma and their Congressional friends. They made money pushing these drugs, and are now poised to make more money fighting them.


And that new 'War on drugs' will end up costing you many, many times what it would have cost to fucking FIX things! To spare you from having to pay a few dollars towards healthcare for someone else, which is apparently some kind of abomination, they will gladly take thousands from you for their shiny new War on Drugs!


Happy yet?

Snaffew's picture

It's Nature vs Nurture---and Nature always wins.  Why attack the drug companies?  If people can't control their addictions to the point where they become life threatening and deadly, then it's best to let these people die.  Thin the herd---people who are fat and obsessively eat unhealthy food should die of heart disease or heart attacks---smokers should die of heart disease and lung cancer---vegans should die of a weak immune system and Type A personalities should die of high blood pressure.  These witch hunts have to end---let people poison their own bodies the way they want to.  It's not mine or anyone else's business to tell people how to live their life and what to or what not to put in their bodies.  Mind your own fucking business.

WTFUD's picture

Don't forget my Invite to your next household knees up! sarc

Snaffew's picture

they'' be no cross dressers and trans people there, so you might not enjoy yourself, but I'll send you an invite anyway.  What's your e-mail--

Bernie Madolf's picture

I agree but I don't want to pay for their prescription drugs.

Our insurance system forces subsidies for big pharma on everyone

Bemused Observer's picture

If by 'prescription drugs' you mean the pain meds, let me inform you that opiates are dirt cheap...whatever you are 'paying' doesn't even show up on the radar on your tax bill.


The other treatments are expensive, sure. But if you really don't want to kick in for those, then at least you can part with a few bucks to let them go out in peace. And if you want to say it isn't your responsibility, then your tax bill isn't my responsibility either. It is people who refuse to do the things that NEED to be done that end up costing EVERYONE more and more. You want to create a healthcare law that leaves people out in the cold, then you will end up with a huge bill for the care they will end up getting anyway, because letting folks die in the streets isn't yet a 'thing' here...yet. And if it ever should, then you will have much bigger issues to deal with then 'paying for their prescriptions', which at that point will seem like the bargain of the century in retrospect. 

 Pay a dollar today, or a thousand next year, either way, the piper gets paid.

cheech_wizard's picture

Ahhh, my Democratic State Senator... one of the dumbest bitches to hold office.

Today she tweeted that Trump's ban could cost upwards of $18 billion. I replied with the costs of 9/11 (according to the NY Times no less) which were $3.3 trillion.

Standard Disclaimer: Senator Cheech... has a nice ring to it.


Spifflove's picture

Don't forget to pick up your lego Batman movie McCaskill action figure complete with arrogant fake tan and that very pantsuit depicted in the photo.

WTFUD's picture

If a job's worth doing it's worth doing good! Fucking over the Competition in favour of one of your campaign contributors defeats the purpose of the exercise but is emblematic of these Political Whores.

divingengineer's picture

$2,500 is bum change for a Senator.

How much have they really given her to stomp on their competitors?


bornlastnight's picture

The government can't even get a grip on all the cocaine and heroin being shipped around the US.  Now they're planning to cut grandma's dope pills.

Apparently Prohibition never sent a clear message to Congress that reducing the supply ALWAYS increases the black market and prices for this stuff, not to mention the increase of criminals having a field day making mucho (tax free) dinero pushing what the citizens want.


Snaffew's picture

the government is in the drug business more than the cartels---they are making money on both ends---sales and incarcerations

divingengineer's picture

I cant seem to get a grip on any good coke either.

And I hear they are practically giving that shit away nowadays.

Squid Viscous's picture

i demand a new Reality teevee show where they follow these losers around until they OD,

kind of like Cops without the cops or any attempts at "intervention"

bluez's picture

One funny thing: If you get some awful disease, and suffer infinite pain, you might have major problems getting pain medicine. In some states it is like that. My friend's cancer doctor said she was lucky to not be in one of those states.

Squid Viscous's picture

like how you can't get sudafed OTC for a cold anymore because, you might be a mule for the breaking bad guy,

what a fucking joke

barysenter's picture

This is all about acquiring in bulk the medical records of organs fit to steal, available with minimal repercussions. A consequence of being so well documented and so badly defended in USurA.

Madam criminal is fighting Michael Moore for somebody's heart. Liver. Kidneys. Bladder. Moar adrenochrome, Dr. Gonzo! Stat! Those Satanists ripped us off!

biker's picture
biker (not verified) Mar 30, 2017 2:26 PM

Pistachios, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, Cashews

instead of poppy fields.

jamesmmu's picture
BOMBSHELL! Obama Defense Deputy Makes Huge Blunder – Admits On MSNBC How They Surveilled President Trump And LEAKED It To The “Hill.”

Iconoclast421's picture

44 million prescriptions is only 18% of the total? No wonder this country is so damn screwed.

highwaytoserfdom's picture
POTUS it is not the  Freedom Caucus Senators: McCain Is A ‘Natural Born Citizen’ Senators Introduce Resolution To Make Clear Senate’s Position On Candidate’s Status

WASHINGTON (Thursday, April 10, 2008) – Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) today introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the U.S. Senate that presidential candidate and current Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is a ‘natural born Citizen,’ as specified in the Constitution and eligible to run for President.

In February, The New York Times published a report calling into question the legality of McCain’s presidential run.  McCain was born to American citizens stationed on an American Naval base in the Panama Canal Zone.  He has since served in the U.S. Navy, and, since 1983, has served in the U.S. Congress.

“Because he was born to American citizens, there is no doubt in my mind that Senator McCain is a natural born citizen,” said Leahy.  “I expect that this will be a unanimous resolution of the Senate.”

“It is silly for anyone to argue that Senator McCain is not eligible to become president,” said McCaskill.  “I would hope that this is something we can all agree on, for goodness sakes.”

At a Judiciary Committee hearing on April 3, Leahy asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, himself a former Federal judge, if he had doubts that McCain was eligible to serve as President.


just got call from Google threatening verification .....  fucking Nazi NSA book burners

Radical Marijuana's picture

Plus ça change, plus c'est le meme chose.

There seems no end to increasingly EVIL "legalization."

OxyContin creator expands into Canadian pot industry

By Grant Robertson, December 2, 2016.


To adequately understand the Rat Trap of drug abuses one has to be able and willing to go through sufficient paradigm shifts in order to perceive that governments are the biggest forms of organized crime, dominated by the best organized gangsters. Those are deeper reasons for WHY the culture of North America is dominated by Huge Lies regarding drugs, since those Legalized Lies are backed by Legalized Violence.

The government is NOT going to properly investigate itself, but only superficially investigate those who may become scapegoats.

Basilian's picture

If you look too hard at Purdue Pharma its going to lead to Afghanistan -- then you will see lots of US government involvement in poppy production and agriculture --- Purdue Pharma will go unscathed. Do you think Ameircans can look in the mirror and accept all these years in the ME and our great country is participating in heroin production -- not freedom. The early Taliban destroyed all opium production and that movement was probably hijacked and given a psychotic make over by our CIA for sure. Oh my its all just one big putrefying mess. Thanks to all our great and wonderful leaders and 3 letter agency psycho drone proletarians --- the Dulles brotehrs are grinning from ear to ear in thier graves ..... if they really ever died at all!

highwaytoserfdom's picture

 Hey  dumb ass  we are flying air traffic over the poppy fields, 


and do you remember Iran Contra and Mena airport


You, You old Hag are the drug dealer, Police state, body snatchers and you will rot in a bad place for eternity

devnickle's picture

When are we going to take out this treasonous fucking garbage?

MAAAHM's picture

I'm afraid politicians are only taken out when it's convenient. America is too big for the people to rule any longer because all we are ever told is that our voice can't be heard or there weren't enough votes to pass..

Not A Doug's picture

2015 opioid death rate 10.3

2014 homicide by gun rate 2.5


Let's take the guns cuz obama wants to make mass shootings "rare instead of normal".  I guess the gun lobby just doesn't pony up the fiat like big pharma.   



Basilian's picture

TREASON -- the biggest threat to all Americans is the US Governement and Purdue Pharma.

Its OK listen i can hear all the religious leaders of all the different religions taking to the streets, airwaves and printing presses .......... NOT!

Religious people are useless scum.....mute in the face of unspeakable sin.

MAAAHM's picture

Christians have one job, to tell the Gospel to a lost and dying world (verbatum).they don't owe you shit, or your radio or tv base. You wouldn't listen anyway. When did God piss you off?

now, religious people, those are a different breed entirely.

esum's picture

tell this smelly corrupt twat to go fuck itself....

where in the Constitution does congress have the right to demand corporate records outside perhaps a criminal investigation....

typical extorsion move buy a libtard...