Greed is rampant in Big Pharma, and for the best example you need to look no further than Purdue. Purdue was a relatively small and unheard of drug company until they developed the blockbuster opioid medication OxyContin. And now that they’ve made billions off the drug, and killed tens of thousands through addiction, they’ve patented a new drug that they claim can solve the crisis that they caused. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins explains.


If there’s one thing big pharma’s good at, it’s at turning lemons into lemonade. And a great example of that is the story that came out recently showing that Richard Sackler of Sackler the family that owns Purdue Pharmaceuticals, has gotten a new patent for a drug that he claims is going to help solve the opioid crisis here in the United States. Now if you’re not familiar with the history of Sackler and Purdue Pharma, here it is in a nutshell. Purdue Pharma was a relatively small, nobody even noticed them pharmaceutical company, up until they developed a drug based opium, called OxyContin. And once that drug took off, the little Purdue Pharma that was basically on the verge of non-existence at the time, became a multi-billion dollar blockbuster big pharma organization. All thanks to that one drug, OxyContin. Their opiate based pain killer.

And what they also knew at the time was this was highly addictive. They didn’t tell doctors. They didn’t tell the FDA, but it sure as hell is in their internal memos. They knew how addictive these drugs were. They knew that people who took them could easily get hooked on them. They knew the threat of overdose. But now after helping launch the opioid crisis here in the United States, making billions upon billions of dollars off of it, they now wanna profit off trying to fix it. Because this new patent for the new drug that they’ve come out with is actually just a weaker form of opiate. It is still an opioid drug, it’s just weaker than some of the other drugs. So you use that to ween off the addicts. You know, lower the dosage to where they can finally stop.

Drugs like that already exist here in this country, so first and foremost there is no need to give this greedy jackass the new patent for it. They already pull in about $900 million a year, and that number is gonna increase as the government starts buying more of those pills to help try to ease the opioid crisis here in the United State. And Sackler wanted in on that money. That’s what this is about. It’s not about him realizing, “Wow, I’ve created such a problem that’s killing at least a 115 American citizens every single day.” Some estimates have it up to 150 or 170 a day. “But I’ve gotta do the right thing and patent this new drug.”

No. Sackler saw an opportunity as so many in big pharma have in the past, “Wow, I created a really bad problem. I bet I can make a few bucks off it too.” That is exactly what has happened with Purdue Pharmaceuticals here. They saw an opening, and they took it. And they’re gonna make even more billions of dollars off this alleged opioid cure, than they even did selling the opioids and creating the crisis in the first place.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced