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Jul-04-2012 03:15printcomments

Senate Investigation of Pharma Doctors- It's a Chance to Reverse National Drug Epidemic

You gotta leave the kids alone
You're acting like a child but your lookin' fully grown
You gotta leave the kids alone - (Lyrics from Leave The Kids Alone)

Salem-News.com

(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - I have been writing a series of articles for Salem-News.com on some of the physicians under U.S. Senate investigation for their financial ties to the lucrative pharmaceutical industry and the resulting prescription drug epidemic the U.S. is fighting in addiction, death and abuse.

The physicians I have focused on are Scott M. Fishman, MD (and his book "Responsible Opioid Prescribing - A Physician's Guide -- book also under Senate investigation) and Lynn R. Webster, MD. Physicians also under Senate investigation are Perry G. Fine, MD and Russell K. Portenoy, MD. In 2004, both Fine and Portenoy wrote "A Clinical Guide to Opioid Analgesia" produced under an educational grant from Endo Pharmaceuticals. Endo is also under Senate investigation.

Some interesting information is contained in Fine and Portenoy's "Guide" and are bulleted below:

    "This societal decision to regulate medical practice and criminalize the administration of opioid medications in some contexts led to secondary phenomena, which had effects of their own. Prescribers became increasingly concerned about the potential for investigation and sanction or prosecution. To some degree, this concern has contributed to the underuse of opioid medications. Equally important, the criminalization of opioid addiction fostered an illicit drug trade that, in turn, brought new problems, including the involvement of organized crime and violent gangs in drug trafficking. Over time, all these problems -- undertreatment of pain, occurrence of opioid trafficking---have increasingly undermined public health."

    "Respiratory depression is rarely a problem when opioids are administered according to accepted guidelines. Tolerance to this effect usually develops quickly, allowing rapid escalation of the dose by typical increments in the range of 30% to 100% of total daily dose"

    "A patient who is presumed to be physically dependent should never be labeled an addict."

    "In most patients, the disease of addiction presents at an early age."

Yes Drs. Fine and Portenoy -- I think we can all agree that your statement of the disease of addiction presents at an early age which brings me to the big news covered by the news media today - and a topic I wrote about (links provided herein) http://www.salem-news.com/articles/september272011/purdue-guinea-pigs-ms.php) - Purdue Pharma wanting to use children ages 6 to 16 as guinea pigs in clinical trials for the use of the lethal drug, OxyContin. http://www.salem-news.com/articles/april172012/oxycontin-kids-ms.php http://www.salem-news.com/articles/april232011/oxycontin-deaths-ms.php

Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin is, in fact, running clinical trials on more than 150 children between 6 and 16 years old who have "moderate to severe" pain. The interest in the push for children becoming addicted to the drug which is crippling the U.S. and Canada is for Purdue Pharma to extend their patent on OxyContin by another 6 months. After all, reports have them making profits in 2011 of approximately $3 billion on the sale of OxyContin -- so extending the patent could potentially reap a big reward of approximately $1.5 billion for the criminally convicted Purdue Pharma. Think this pharmaceutical company has a conscience? Think again.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported a 300% increase in the past decade in overdose deaths due to the sale of prescription painkillers.

It has been reported that Purdue Pharma does not have to show that OxyContin actually works on their pediatric subjects -- only that they conducted the study -- they then qualify for an extension of their patent rights.

Studying the effects on young children and teenagers of one of the most abused painkillers on the market is prompting controversy. Clinics that take money from Purdue and put children with chronic pain on long-term OxyContin are unethical, argued Andrew Kolodny, president of the Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and a practicing psychiatrist in New York. "With children, we have to be more concerned for risk with addiction," Dr. Kolodny said.

Looks as though Drs. Fishman, Webster, Portenoy and Fine have more accountability to the U.S. Senate in their investigation into the tens of thousands of deaths and addictions due to the "push" of dangerous opioids for all levels of pain. And if the senators need proof that children will bring the deaths and addictions into the hundreds of thousands -- just read the books written by these physicians you are investigating.

Criminal behavior at its best at the risk of addicting and killing our kids -- and the FDA is as guilty as these physicians being investigated in their part in endangering the lives of our children. A couple of years ago, an official at the FDA told me "We don't have the manpower to police Purdue Pharma." At the time, I replied "And you don't think Purdue Pharma doesn't know that?" It's time for the U.S. Senate to end this holocaust in our country in prescription drug deaths and addictions and hold the FDA accountable for total incompetence.

LP -- A wise old woman once said "I'll take the top and you can have the bottom." A wiser woman said "If I can't have both -- I don't want either." To share our love, faith, joys and where our journeys are taking us is the greatest gift from God -- hence the word "Peace."

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Salem-News.com Investigative Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

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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Celeste Cooper October 25, 2012 10:46 am (Pacific time)

The consequence of under treating chronic pain with classes of drugs other than opioids is causing a high rate of death. NSAIDS are causing heart attacks and morbidity from gastrointestinal bleeding. Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are not adequately reported n the data because they are not classified as analgesics. If patients are denied pain control with medications specifically designed to do so, opioids, I fear we will have an epidemic of suicide. To avoid pain is a primal instinct. To criminalize or restrict legal access will drive patients underground with far worse consequences and absolutely no education and training for safe use.


Joanne Peterson July 4, 2012 5:29 am (Pacific time)

I find this comparable to a horror movie, how can this happen? How is it our country allows this? The death statistics are STAGGERING! All for the love of money, who is going to protect our youth?

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