US District Judge Dan Polster presiding over nationwide opioid litigation dismissed an order that now allows the general public, for the first time ever, to examine opioid sales from the Drug Enforcement Administration's Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS) that details how the opioid epidemic exploded into almost every community across the US from 2006 through 2012.
"The public release of pre-2012 ARCOS data, which shows how prescription opioid pills flooded American communities, is a positive and transparent step forward," plaintiffs attorneys Paul Hanley, Paul Ferrell and Joe Rice said in a statement released Monday.
"The data provides statistical insights that help pinpoint the origins and spread of the opioid epidemic."
As per The Washington Post, the ACROS data showed big pharmaceutical companies pumped 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills from 2006 through 2012 into nearly every zip code across the country.
The data provides an unparalleled view of how legal opioid pills from big pharma fueled the opioid epidemic, which has resulted in approximately 100,000 deaths in those 4 years.
Only six companies distributed 75% of all the painkillers during the six years: McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS, and Walmart.
Only three companies manufactured 88% of the opioids: SpecGx, a subsidiary of Mallinckrodt; Actavis Pharma; and Par Pharmaceutical.
The database shows how pills were transported from manufacturers to distributors, then administered in towns.
In lawsuits against big pharma companies, lawyers allege companies deliberately pumped legal opioid to reach the streets of communities despite signs the pills were being sold and diverted to the black market.
Plaintiffs have accused drug manufacturers and wholesalers of fueling the opioid crisis by distributing billions of pain pills for a profit, ignoring ethics and sometimes violating federal law. Big pharma has already paid out more than $1 billion in fines to the Justice Department and Food and Drug Administration over opioid-related issues.
The Post noted that government and corporations wanted to shield the public from ARCOS data.
During the past two decades, Florida transformed into the country's top pill mill. Corrupt doctors opened up pain management clinics across the state, that worked with drug dealers to sell pills on the black market. People from around the country would flock to Florida to load up on oxycodone and hydrocodone, and they were sometimes referred to as "prescription tourists."
Highways from Florida to Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio became known as "Blue Highway," after the most popular pill on the street were blue oxycodone tablets made by Mallinckrodt. Between 2008 and 2012, more than 500 million of those pills were shipped by manufacturers to Florida.
Peter J. Mougey, a lawyer for the plaintiffs from Pensacola, Fla., said "the depth and penetration of the opioid epidemic become readily apparent from the data."
"This disclosure will serve as a wake-up call to every community in the country. America should brace itself for the harsh reality of the scope of the opioid epidemic. Transparency will lead to accountability."
The harsh truth behind the ARCOS data is that it's not Mexico and China who are responsible for the opioid crisis, as the Trump admin likes to scapegoat frequently, it's the corporate elitists who control big pharma, led to the overdose deaths of so many Americans over the last decade without government doing a damn thing about it.