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Trump says he is holding big Pharma accountable in opioid fight

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Trump says he is holding big Pharma accountable in opioid fight

By Roberta Rampton

 

2019-04-25T021033Z_3_LYNXNPEF3N1N6_RTROPTP_4_USA-TRUMP-OPIOIDS.JPG

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

 

ATLANTA (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump touted progress in the fight against opioid abuse on Wednesday and promised to hold drugmakers accountable for their part in the crisis, a day after his administration brought its first related criminal charges against a major drug distributor and company executives.

 

America's opioid epidemic, especially damaging in rural areas where Trump is popular, has been a focus for the Republican president.

 

On Tuesday, the government charged drug distributor Rochester Drug Co-operative Inc and company executives for their role in fueling the epidemic. The company agreed to pay $20 million and enter a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges it turned a blind eye to thousands of suspicious orders for opioid pain killers.

 

"We are holding big Pharma accountable," Trump said at the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta.

 

Deaths from opioid overdose in the United States jumped 17 percent in 2017 from a year earlier to more than 49,000 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Deaths from potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl surged 45 percent in that time, according to the CDC.

 

Hundreds of lawsuits by state and local governments accuse drugmakers such as Purdue Pharma of deceptively marketing opioids, and distributors such as AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp of ignoring that they were being diverted for improper uses.

 

Trump said he convinced Chinese President Xi Jinping in a December meeting in Argentina to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance.

 

China last month listed all fentanyl-related substances as controlled narcotics after criticism from Trump, though its government blamed U.S. culture for abuse of the drug and said the amount of fentanyl going from China into the United States was "extremely limited."

 

"Almost all fentanyl comes from China," Trump said on Wednesday. "They are going to make it a major crime."

 

Little has come of Trump's earlier calls for executing drug dealers. But the administration has taken some action to address the crisis on other fronts.

 

Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October 2017. Last week, U.S. health officials said they will spend $350 million in four states to study ways to best deal with the opioid crisis on the local level, with a goal of reducing opioid-related overdose deaths by 40 percent over three years in selected communities in those states.

 

The Democratic National Committee said in a statement before Trump's remarks that his proposed Medicaid cuts and efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, could make the opioid problem worse.

 

Trump has used the crisis to support his call for building a wall on the border with Mexico, saying it would help keep out heroin and other illegal drugs and curb the crisis.

 

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, David Gregorio and Bill Berkrot)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-04-25
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54 minutes ago, webfact said:

The company agreed to pay $20 million and enter a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges it turned a blind eye to thousands of suspicious orders for opioid pain killers.

In light of the $$Billions$$ made in profit, this is a slap on the wrist. I remember when Microsoft was being threatened with a $1 million/day fine, and Gates replied "OK, that's just an operating expense."

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11 minutes ago, thequietman said:

He does a lot of dumb stuff but this action is to be commended.

 

I think he may get re-elected.

Humor. I recognize humor. 555

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Well we shal see

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This is called "biting the hand that feeds you" but I must agree an A+ for Trump if he means anything more than hot air

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It’s right of him to call this out and go after the primary US distribution system (might want to add members of the medical community to this list as well).  The slap on the wrist fine though gives it the optics of just being “political”.  That said, stopping the legal distribution simply drives this underground and for that they have no solution.

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Ridiculous fine indeed, all just for show!

Purdue Pharma alone, the company that came up with Oxycontin earns the Stickler family an estimated billion a year ... so Tiny Hands got nothing much for show there really. 

1600 cities are suing though ... 

 

 

 

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Seems to me that while the Pharmaceutical companies make the stuff, it is the doctors and pharmacies that distribute the stuff. Sure the drug companies have sales reps out pushing product but in the end one needs a prescription and a pharmacy to get the stuff.  Seems like they should be going after the doctors prescribing the stuff.  It also seems like somewhere along the line the "suspicious orders" should be examined by the Feds and the people ordering large quantities investigated as well. Article doesn't (as is with most news reports) do any in-depth reporting so we are left to wonder exactly where the problem lies. Is it indeed the drug companies or the doctors and pharmacies distributing the stuff.  Don't understand how it is all the fault of the manufacturer.  The emphasis should be on hitting hard the suspect doctors and pharmacies and start making examples of some of the people directly getting the drugs into the hands of people.  

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14 minutes ago, Trouble said:

Seems to me that while the Pharmaceutical companies make the stuff, it is the doctors and pharmacies that distribute the stuff. Sure the drug companies have sales reps out pushing product but in the end one needs a prescription and a pharmacy to get the stuff.  Seems like they should be going after the doctors prescribing the stuff.  It also seems like somewhere along the line the "suspicious orders" should be examined by the Feds and the people ordering large quantities investigated as well. Article doesn't (as is with most news reports) do any in-depth reporting so we are left to wonder exactly where the problem lies. Is it indeed the drug companies or the doctors and pharmacies distributing the stuff.  Don't understand how it is all the fault of the manufacturer.  The emphasis should be on hitting hard the suspect doctors and pharmacies and start making examples of some of the people directly getting the drugs into the hands of people.  

 

You've got a point there of course ... 

Apparently the pharma companies acted in complete denial - much like the tobacco corps did decades ago - so that's where these particular lawsuits are aiming at. 

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