Previous blogs on America’s prescription opioid epidemic have touched on how companies like Purdue Pharma underplayed the risks of OxyContin. Purdue and its competitors have spent millions of dollars lobbying to protect prescription opioid medications from stricter regulations. Between 2006 and 2015, Purdue Pharma and prescription opioid manufacturers spent $880 million on lobbying. This is 200 times the amount spent by groups attempting to stem the tide of prescription opioids.
Pharma companies and the advocacy groups supporting them are quick to defend prescription opioids when the need arises.
How Are Prescription Opioid Manufacturers Spending Lobbying Funds?
According to the Associated Press and Center for Public Integrity, drug makers have adopted a 50-state strategy to kill or weaken legislative efforts that limit aggressive prescribing. The “50-state playbook” involves spending millions on campaign contributions, funding advocacy groups to kill bad press, and hiring hundreds of lobbyists to target state legislatures.
Pro-opioid nonprofits like the Pain Care Forum have backed pharmaceutical companies to kill bad press and blanket state lawmakers with campaign contributions. For example, Pain Care Forum gave $24 million to 7,100 state lawmakers between 2006 and 2015. These were not just “any” state lawmakers. Pain Care Forum focused on governors, house speakers, senate presidents and lawmakers on powerful committees that could dominate the legislative process.
Pharmaceutical companies and their advocacy groups have pushed for state and federal legislation that would favor abuse-deterrent prescription (ADF) opioids. If you read last week’s blog, you would know why there is no such thing. It’s just a ruse to kill bad press and eliminate competition so these companies can make more money.
While thousands of people are dying from addiction to prescription opioid medications, the companies that produce these drugs are fighting legislative efforts to prevent overprescribing. Communities are being destroyed, families are being torn apart, and innocent people are dying. Instead of helping stop this madness, lawmakers enticed by campaign contributions continue to help drug companies make more money.
Unfortunately, there are many other unethical actions that prescription opioid companies have undertaken. Future blogs will discuss in detail how these companies resort to misleading advertising tactics to boost sales.
The New Jersey defective drug lawyers at Keefe Law Firm can help families and individuals harmed by negligent drug companies.