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 InsideSources.com,

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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Trucker Glock's picture

God would not have given us opioid receptors if he didn't want us to be junkies.  Another failure of central planning.

Mtnrunnr's picture

I'm outraged.... as long as I can still be re-elected.

VWAndy's picture

 File this under

monopolistic /regulatory capture/ corruption

 Cross reference  back stabbing whore/ two faced jackels

 

moonmac's picture

Keep punishing responsible Americans while letting the irresponsible continue to do as they please using our tax dollars.

That is the USA in a nutshell.


moonmac's picture

"Who is going to save our children?"

If your kid is a drug addict maybe you should look in the mirror. Nah, that's way too hard its so much easier to blame the drugs and dealers for being a shitty parent.

restelle's picture

This McCaskill is a DUDE!

Look at the facial structure.  No real woman looks like that.

Hikikomori's picture

If you're willing to suspend your preconceived ideas and prejudices, look at Portugal, which has had the greatest success dealing with drugs and addicts of any country on the planet.

Bemused Observer's picture

The pain meds were handed out "like candy" as a result of the healthcare 'rationing' they were trying on to contain costs. Other treatments were getting too expensive for all the ailments people were getting, along with the aging Boomers starting to develop their arthritises, etc. So, write a script for the pain, and send 'em on their way. Sounded like a good plan, until the addiction issues came up, now everyone is covering their asses, and hopping aboard the "Just Say No" train.

 

But if you are going to ration care, you are going to HAVE to hand out candy to keep people quiet. If you won't treat the cancer or whatever, then you will have to provide at least pain relief for them as they die. Opiates are dirt cheap and effective, even though they annoy the Calvinists. So, pick your poison, either  provide proper health care, or accept that many people will have to be given medicines that may actually make them feel better so they don't decide to 'do something' drastic while they are dying, and that you won't be totally embarrassed that citizens are dying in your streets, in pain, while you stand there pontificating about their possible motivations.

 

And I can tell you that the only people who have no trouble obtaining narcotics are ADDICTS. All the stupid drug laws do is make it impossible for honest, non-addict patients to get reliable pain relief. Pain management clinics are a fucking JOKE...the only 'management' you get is a script for more pills. If you actually want some CARE with those pills, like for the illness you have that causes the pain, well, good luck to you. Once you are a "pain patient", it's ALL about the pills. Your illness now takes a back seat to your 'addiction management'.

 

What a fucking joke. I hope these people die a hideously painful death, with NO relief. They can dream of those pills as they writhe and moan, waiting for Death to take them away. And then we can all yell at them, "At least you won't get addicted now! Aren't you glad we have 'patient-centered' healthcare?"

 

Millions for extended 'treatment', or pennies for a bottle of pain relief...choose. And then, please shut up and go away, and leave these poor people alone.

llessur_one's picture

Clair McCasket just wants to eliminate the competition.

VWAndy's picture

Are these the same cats that handed out speed to everyones mom in the 50s and 60s well into the 70s?

amor terra's picture

Yup. But don't forget the Valium.  Mother's little helper...

BSHJ's picture

Too funny....her 'home state' company issues 8 times more opoid scrips than the 5 named companies.......and then they are conveniently excluded from the congressional shake-down, i mean, 'investigation'.

KuriousKat's picture

Good news for legalized pot states   opiod er and ods  down over 20 percent..thats yuge

http://monetarywatch.com/2017/03/opioid-deaths-plummeting-states-legal-w...

 

 

Sledge-hammer's picture
Sledge-hammer (not verified) Mar 30, 2017 4:32 PM

Inadvertent oversight.

CHoward's picture

Too late - the (opioid) horse has already left the barn.  Thanks Senator for your do fucking nothing feel good "investigation".  Stupid, useless cunt.

Dildocks's picture

She gets paid-off with product which explains her dopey nature. Opioid constipation explains why she's full of shit.

pine_marten's picture

She looks like she is enjoying an opiod suppository. .....

 

rsnoble's picture

Typical old school hillary technique.  I would put this bitch front and center for involvement.

aloha_snakbar's picture

I wonder which bathroom she uses...

AlbertthePudding's picture

Democrats are nothing if not consistent.

jimbrown's picture

Addiction shouldn't even be a consideration as it relates to people with permanent injuries and who suffer from acute and croni pain as a result, the primary importance is to make certain that these people have access to modern medicine to reduce pain, it is a fundamental human right specified by the United Nations, we don't even allow for the physiological sufferings of animals yet when it comes to humans we don't care and just jump on the vilification of modern medicine bandwagon like a bunch of pitchforkers.......sad...........

Almost five decades ago, governments around the world adopted the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which, in addition to addressing the control of illicit narcotics, obligated countries to work towards universal access to the narcotic drugs necessary to alleviate pain and suffering. Yet, despite the existence of inexpensive and effective pain relief medicines, tens of millions of people around the world continue to suffer from moderate to severe pain each year without treatment.
jimbrown's picture

Addiction shouldn't even be a consideration as it relates to people with permanent injuries and who suffer from acute and croni pain as a result, the primary importance is to make certain that these people have access to modern medicine to reduce pain, it is a fundamental human right specified by the United Nations, we don't even allow for the physiological sufferings of animals yet when it comes to humans we don't care and just jump on the vilification of modern medicine bandwagon like a bunch of pitchforkers.......sad...........

Almost five decades ago, governments around the world adopted the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which, in addition to addressing the control of illicit narcotics, obligated countries to work towards universal access to the narcotic drugs necessary to alleviate pain and suffering. Yet, despite the existence of inexpensive and effective pain relief medicines, tens of millions of people around the world continue to suffer from moderate to severe pain each year without treatment.
wide angle tree's picture

And they happen to be lousy at relieving pain. The cheap over the counter products are all more effective.

wide angle tree's picture

The whole prescription drug industry is a huge scam. Yes, there are cases where the drugs are needed, but it's probably less than 10% of the prescriptions.

How many people out there are taking 5 prescription pills a day while eating garbage, getting no exercise, and taking no vitamins?

I propose that people should try taking vitamins before ever wasting a dime on those dangerous prescription drugs. That is if you really care about your health.