LAWYERS, OXYCONTIN AND A BILLION DOLLARS
"Out of the mouth of babes" is often interpreted as gaining wisdom from the most innocent and naive. It is with that thought that this piece is written. I am not an attorney.
Since 2003 when my family started our journey into the world of addiction I have remained dumbfounded that the legal establishment has not been able to shut down the distributors of the legally sanctioned narcotics our officials in the FDA and DEA continue to remain silent on. Before the drug companies created the name "pain killers" they were good old fashioned narcotics. Since the approval of OxyContin in 1995 by our FDA which followed only two weeks of clinical trials concerning chronic pain, as described in Purdue Pharma's Oxycontin package insert, the path of destruction and death have followed the drug. The resulting increase in the manufacture of the active ingredient of OxyContin, oxycodone, has skyrocketed since the addictive nature of the drug was understood by people who had the power to distribute. However, few attorneys, medical professionals and lay people continue to realize that oxycodone and heroin are almost structurally similar.
The hoax and myth concerning the use of oxycodone for chronic pain, except in extreme circumstances, is slowly being revealed. This is an attempt to explain how the attorneys have lost hundreds of lawsuits in pursuing drug companies, doctors and pharmacists.
First, there is a partnership in addiction. You have the consumer (addict) and the distributor (dealer). On my radio show I repeatedly state that the use of drugs "is a 50/50 proposition: 50% of the blame is on the user and 50% is on the dealer". I spend 99% of my show on the dealers and I find they have no comments or defense.
The defense attorneys have been skillful at focusing their arguments solely on the addict and the plaintiff's attorneys have allowed it. The defense attorneys have been masterful at making it clear that addiction is a "moral failing". It is the individual's choice to become addicted. In most of the cases the plaintiff's attorney has been forced to go on the defense and the case begins to unravel.
The focus of every trial has to stop being on the addict who has become a victim of the addictive drug. The focus with the equivalent of a laser beam has to be on the dealer. Heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, etc. create addiction, period. No attorney should accept a case if they do not believe the disease of addiction is brought on by the exposure to the narcotics, either intended or unintended. No attorney should accept a case unless they understand the use of narcotics is a marketing hoax for most painful ailments and the attorney must understand the molecular structure of oxycodone to comfortably argue for their victim.
The defense for the doctors and drug companies has been masterful at exploiting and extrapolating the use of the drugs when they may only be necessary in a small percentage of medical situations. Again, a lawsuit can only be won if it is focused solely on the purposeful distribution of the deadly narcotics. Bringing in an "expert medical witness" for the plaintiff is counterproductive to the lawsuit. The plaintiff should not be calling on any doctors to testify for their case! The entire focus of the lawsuit must be emphasizing to the jury how dangerous the drugs are. Debating if oxycodone was appropriate for the treatment of the "pain" is completely immaterial to the fact that the drugs create addiction. Experts in pharmacology, chemistry and addiction should be the plaintiff's witnesses.
A medical doctor should never be called on behalf of the plaintiff. "Accepted standards of care" are immaterial to the plaintiff's argument. The whole focus should be on the dangers of the drugs, the damage of the drugs, the similarity to heroin, and asking the defense doctors why a doctor would prescribe such incredibly dangerous drugs, except in the most demanding of cases? A doctor should have to answer why a 20 to 25 year old kid would be given the equivalent of heroin? A doctor should have to answer why a combination of deadly drugs would be given to anyone? A doctor should have to answer why the standards of care should dictate beyond common sense. At one time bloodletting and lobotomies were part of the standard of care for our medical establishment. There are still "experts" who will testify that nicotine is not addictive.
A future case can only be won if the dangers and misinformation concerning opioids for chronic pain are revealed. The use of OxyContin for chronic long term pain as marketed by Purdue is a hoax. There are tens of thousands of casualties of addiction and death to support my beliefs. The current web site http://www.banoxycontin.com has thousands of signatures and comments to support that the biggest mistake in FDA history continues.The GAO report in 2003 was a start for exposing OxyContin and the legal profession continues to struggle building upon that excellent report from six years ago.
I continue to look forward to the "code to be broken" so the attorneys will bring an end to the over distribution of the legal narcotics that is creating problems in every community in America.
Larry Golbom RPh MBA
The Prescription Addiction Radio Show - Breaking the Silence