The maker of Oxycontin has said that they will no longer market their opioids directly to doctors. This move isn’t because they finally developed a conscience, its because of the massive lawsuits that they are facing for pushing these highly addictive pills. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Peter Mougey discuss this.

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Mike Papantonio: The maker of Oxycontin has said they will no longer market their opioids directly to doctors. This move isn’t because they finally developed a conscious I can promise you. It’s because of the massive lawsuits that they are facing for pushing these highly addictive drugs all over this country knowing exactly how dangerous their conduct was. Peter, you are one of the leaders in this national case that has been filed in Cleveland. There is a handful of lawyers who have been picked to oversee that litigation and. you are one of them and, one of our partner’s Troy Rafferty is the other one. You know, as I look at this story it’s almost as if we have them trying to fall on their sword.

Peter Mougey: Yes.

Mike Papantonio: From 1997, they have understood exactly how addictive this product was. They went out and tried to phony up a bunch of information to give to doctors to say it wasn’t and now they are falling on their sword. Is it going to work?

Peter Mougey: I hope people see through it. You have Purdue who makes Oxycontin, in 2007, three of their executives agree to criminal charges and now they are coming, it’s ten years later. In that ten year period of time you have almost five, six hundred thousand deaths attributable to Oxycontin and another host of opiates and, now they are going to say we aren’t going to market it. Doesn’t it beg to question why in the world would they market them in the first place? Why are you marketing these in the first place?

Mike Papantonio: It wasn’t even necessary.

Peter Mougey: No, why would you market opiates?

Mike Papantonio: Let me put it in perspective. First of all these opiates at this level were designed for end of life.

Peter Mougey: Right.

Mike Papantonio: End of life, in critically care cancer cases, post surgery for three days and that was it. But they couldn’t make enough money so they then start going out and they said well we are going to market for all kinds of reasons. You have a sprained ankle give you 70 Oxycontin. People say well that’s the doctor. No, it’s not the doctor entirely. When you find out what these companies did. They actually went out and created phonied up literature, they had phonied up people, they’re called key people…

Peter Mougey: Opinion leaders.

Mike Papantonio: Key opinion leaders. They go to these universities and say hey doc “how would you like to make a hundred thousand dollars”…

Peter Mougey: Educating them.

Mike Papantonio: Yes, educating that the opioids are not addictive so, they would phony up a bunch of literature. Then they have their sales people in the field that are only suppose to be selling this for the very narrow use then they start using it for everything.

Peter Mougey: The thought that they are out marketing it. In 2010 they released a new kind of delivery mechanism that was harder to crushed. So many people had problems that they were crushing it and snorting it and then melting it down and injecting it and, the same time they are marketing it. It’s scary or sad really. It’s scary that they are out putting the bottom line first.

Mike Papantonio: The problem is you have the idiotic media that’s like “oh yeah look what they’re trying to do”. These are criminals, criminals dressed up in three piece suits. The are no different than El Chapo and every other drug lord that we have seen in the news.

Peter Mougey: I think an important part of the story that you’d never here on mainstream media is this, that the deaths have been escalating every year for about 15 years. I mean we are at the highest cause of death in 24 to 40 year olds is opiates. When I first started working on these cases in late 2016 early 2017 these stories weren’t at the front page of the national press. The reason why Purdue has taken these kinds of steps is because trial lawyers around the country started talking to their cities and counties and started filing cases. Only when the trial lawyers filed cases are you seeing steps like Purdue refusing to market. This is a trial lawyer.

Mike Papantonio: Let me close with this. These companies make an 80mg Oxycontin. Let me tell you what that means. 80mg opioid. That is the equivalent of 24 Vicodin. One pill equal 24 Vicodin. Now these detailer’s, these sales people were out assuring doctors that people could take two of those a day. But let me tell you what it’s really about. They found out that the 80mg opioid was actually best street drug that their best street drug. We’ve asked them and you’ve asked them the committee to show us some good faith, take the 80mg off of the street. They haven’t done that. Will you please send letters around to doctors and re-educate them about the lies that you told? They won’t do it. Would you please post your warning in a big black box and post it all over areas where this stuff is prescribed. They won’t do it. They are still in the money business. Don’t believe any of this falling on their sword stuff.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.