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Ohio Residents Better Bar Their Windows and Hide their DaughtersMarianne Skolek Salem-News.com
OxyContin is spawning drug addicts and causing pharmacy robberies nationwide every single day.
(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) - This morning newspapers in Ohio were reporting a story of a possible conflict over the state's drug program. It seems a public relations company by the name of Fleishman Hillard with past ties to drugmakers has been hired by the State of Ohio to run its drug anti-overdose campaign.
It seems the Ohio Department of Health officials did not even bother to discuss any problems with awarding Fleishman Hillard a $400,000 contract because Fleishman Hillard is no longer a paid consultant for Purdue Pharma.
The residents of Ohio may be interested in knowing that Fleishman Hillard's function while working for Purdue Pharma was to manage crisis communications for Purdue Pharma when allegations of abuse first arose in 2000. In 2007, Purdue Pharma and its three CEO's Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim were charged in Federal Court -- and pleaded guilty -- to misleading physicians and patients about the addictive and abusive qualities of OxyContin. It appears that Fleishman Hillard fell a little short of "managing crisis communications" for Purdue Pharma.
Today's Ohio newspapers reported the state has skyrocking increases in accidental overdose deaths. Fleishman Hillard was the "highest" bidder of the three bids presented to the State's Department of Health. In their proposal, Fleishman Hillard indicated they had "coordinated briefings with politicians and enforcement agencies and educated certain audiences on the proper use of pain medication and the role of OxyContin in managing chronic pain."
Am I missing something here? Is it me, or should the State of Ohio's Department of Health be ashamed of themselves? Why does "snake oil salesmen" come to my mind?
Someone named Orman Hall, president of the Fairfield County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board, seems to be the only person wondering if the firm that defended Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin -- the drug responsible for the epidemic of death and addiction in Ohio can really avoid a conflict of interest.
And this should be very reassuring to the residents of Ohio. The former vice president of public affairs for Purdue Pharma, Robin Hogen (until they cut him free during one of their downsizings) praised Fleishman's expertise in advising management on how to respond to those initial reports of abuse back in 2000. Hogan now works at his alma mater, Yale University as Deputy Director of Public Affairs. Hogen is quoted as saying OxyContin abuse became a "political issue", especially in Ohio. Tell the parents of young kids they have arranged funerals for -- or the parents of kids dealing with the snake pit of addiction -- that it is a "political issue".
In July 2001, Purdue Pharma's PR Department issued a statement saying that they had been dealing with a media "maelstrom" ever since The New York Times ran a front page spread "asserting" that OxyContin "for cancer patients" was spawning drug addicts and causing pharmacy robberies. Well it's now 2010 and it appears The New York Times was right on the money -- OxyContin is spawning drug addicts and causing pharmacy robberies nationwide every single day.
Back in 2001, Robin Hogen made two famous statements -- "We're waiting for that moment when the press realizes that this is a story that they've been getting wrong" and "The way the media was presenting the story was: OxyContin is coming to your neighborhood; bar the windows and hide your daughters."
Christy Beeghly and Judi Moseley, both officials in the health department's Injury Prevention Program, were on the selection committee that chose Fleishman's plan. Below are their email addresses as well as the email address for the Director of the Ohio Department of Health. Maybe they need to hear that the best snake oil salesmen just made $400,000 off the State of Ohio.
Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.
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