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May-13-2012 15:08printcomments

OxyContin Manufacturer Purdue Pharma Subject of Senate Investigation

"About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation." Will Rogers

Senate Investigation

(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - A Senate investigation is being conducted against the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma and their funded pain foundations as well as against individuals including Drs. Fishman and Portenoy affiliated with Purdue Pharma and their pain foundations. The investigation by the Senate was announced this past week. It appears that the U.S. Senate does not buy what pain foundations are "selling" in the undertreatment of pain in the U.S. when deaths from prescription drugs rose from about 4,000 to 14,800 between 1999 and 2008 -- more than any other class of drugs. OxyContin hit the market in 1996 and was prescribed to patients based on criminal marketing for all levels of pain.

But the U.S. Senate missed one in their investigation. It is an organization known as NADDI - National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. NADDI is kept very well fed and funded by Purdue Pharma and other pharma. (See links below). NADDI "works with law enforcement" throughout the country setting up conferences at the finest hotels in the country telling them about drug diversion -- but they are funded by the maker of OxyContin who lied about the dangers of the drug. I have made an analogy about NADDI - it's like asking Charles Manson to assist America's Most Wanted in catching felons. You can't be funded by the bad guys and work with the good guys. Something doesn't work here.

Since I began writing for in 2009, I have focused on the prescription drug epidemic in the U.S. and Canada. In particular, I have focused on the criminal marketing of the drug, OxyContin which is crippling tens of thousands of individuals each year in addictions and tragically in death. The maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma was criminally convicted in Federal Court of misleading the medical community and patients about the addictive and abusive qualities of their blockbuster drug. They pleaded guilty to the charges against them, but continued to make billions of dollars off their criminal marketing.

I have focused over the years on Purdue Pharma's very well funded pain foundations who market OxyContin for the "undertreatment of pain" in the country even though it is well documented that we are drowning in an epidemic of deaths and addictions because of the increased sales and pushing of opioids for every level of pain. One of the pain foundations that Purdue Pharma kept very well funded was the American Pain Foundation (APF) which had been headed by Scott Fishman, MD until the end of December 2011 when he resigned from his position.

This week the American Pain Foundation posted on their website that "due to irreparable economic circumstances, APF must cease to exist effective immediately." See link below. A "pain foundation" citing "irreparable economic circumstances" funded by pharma is a hard pill to swallow. It was not for this reason that the APF shut its doors. The reason was bad publicity and exposure of ties to the pharmaceutical industry made by ProPublica, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP). Links to their work is provided below.

On May 8, a letter was sent to John H. Stewart, President and Chief Executive Officer of Purdue Pharma by Senators Charles E. Grassley and Max Baucus advising them that a Senate investigation was being conducted on pharma's ties to The American Pain Foundation, The American Academy of Pain Medicine, The American Pain Society,The American Geriatric Society, The Wisconsin Pain and Policy Study Group, The Alliance of State Pain Initiatives, the Center for Practical Bioethics, Beth Israel Medical Center, Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care, The Joint Commission (and all related entities) and The Federation of State Medical Boards. In addition, individuals were also being investigated including Russell K. Portenoy, MD, Scott M. Fishman, MD and Lynn R. Webster, MD who I have written about for

The Senate investigation is focusing on the book written by Scott Fishman, MD "Responsible Opioid Prescribing: A Physician's Guide" distributed by the Federation of State Medical Boards. My articles for for the past two weeks have focused on this guidebook and the misleading information contained in it.

No documents, records, data, or other information related to the Senate investigation either directly or indirectly shall be destroyed, modified, removed, or otherwise made inaccessible to the Committee.

This information is to be in the hands of the Senate Finance Committee by June 8, 2012. (Letter to Purdue Pharma by Senate Finance Committee linked below).

Senators Grassley and Baucus good job -- but you missed one - NADDI. Well actually you missed two -- the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for wearing blinders while this prescription drug epidemic continues to devastate our country in deaths and addictions.

LP -- For a "little spot of heaven" and giving you a new nickname. For introducing me to a wonderful family and dominos. You are definitely the best and I am so proud to love you.>senate-panel-launches-investigation-of-painkillers-drug-companies-4u5arr1-150767225.html

______________________________________________ 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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Bob October 17, 2012 11:09 pm (Pacific time)

The persons who suffer have the right to have things which help them live better lives, like the wonderful OxyNeo. I do suffer, and I will give my life to have the same rights as other Americans. We have the right to have less pain. Other things kill, like beers, what do you do ?

Bob October 17, 2012 11:09 pm (Pacific time)

The persons who suffer have the right to have things which help them live better lives, like the wonderful OxyNeo. I do suffer, and I will give my life to have the same rights as other Americans. We have the right to have less pain. Other things kill, like beers, what do you do ?

Rob Bovett June 22, 2012 12:27 pm (Pacific time)

Marianne, thank you for your continued work on this important issue. Two quick things:
1. I wrote an Op Ed for todays's Oregonian that you might find of interest:
2. Please know that many in law enforcement long ago broke ties with NADDI. Many of us never even established those ties to begin with.

Dave May 15, 2012 4:57 am (Pacific time)

We stopped the harvest of forests to ensure we didn't kill an owl. When we kill people with drugs no one cares? Great story...we have to turn the heat up on these politicians. Until it hurts their respective vote count they won't get involved. Yes the drug may work for a few but is someone's pain relief worth the life of another. Let's face it, this is all about money.

john May 14, 2012 10:17 pm (Pacific time)

But for oxycontin, there is a good chance I would have killed myself. I was suffering from intolerable pain from failed back surgery. It was relentless. Oxycontin gave me back my life. I have been at the same dosage now for some 10 years. If you want to go on a crusade, go after the most addictive drug in the world, namely, nicotine. It has been proven to be more addictive than any narcotic. Shame on you for painting with a broad, emotional brush. You dont have the other side of the story and believe me, there is.

Editor: John, we are glad that worked out for you, however our writer's personal loss set this into motion and everything she writes is backed up and true.  So you can be personally happy with the product of a company responsible for so many needless deaths if you want to, we are not.    

MSpra May 14, 2012 8:02 am (Pacific time)

I am so pleased to read this post. I hope they decide to add the FDA and ANY and ALL associations that receive money from any manufacturer of pain medications.

Joanne Peterson May 14, 2012 5:29 am (Pacific time)

God bless you Marianne for never giving up and keeping so many thousands of families who have been destroyed in the loop.....y

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