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Big Pharma’s Killer Distribution Plan
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Big Pharma’s Killer Distribution Plan

Have you ever wondered how we found ourselves in the midst of an opioid crisis that is killing around 90 people every day? Are nasty drug smugglers sneaking over southwest borders and supplying gangs with contraband drugs?

Dream on. This crisis was designed and, pardon the expression, executed by Big Pharma, with bi-partisan support from the U. S.Congress. The Republicans and Democrats can agree about almost nothing, but when it comes to unleashing powerful medications on an unsuspecting public, everyone is on board. In a stunning expose, the Washington Post and 60 Minutes reveal how the powerful pharma lobby was able to strip away the the enforcement powers of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), enabling drug companies to flood the country with their toxic products.

The use of the word "flood" is no exaggeration. The expose focuses on a number of drug manufacturers and distributors,including Miami-Luken, a distributor whose website touts"easy access" to pharmacies across America. For example, West Virginia is burdened with the highest drug fatality rate in the country. Where did this come from? Between 2007 and 2012, Miami-Luken shipped 20 million doses of oxycodone and hydrocodone to pharmacies in West Virginia, with 11 million winding up in a single county, Mingo, population 25,000. That's an average of 440 pills per resident.

Where's the DEA?

The DEA used to have the power to freeze drug shipments that posed an "imminent danger" to a community. Now, thanks to legislation passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President Obama, the DEA has to show that a company's actions represent "a substantial likelihood of an immediate threat." One drug company’s attorney, Gregory Garre, argued the “imminent danger” standard was vague and not supported by law. By the way, Garre was the former U.S. solicitor general during the second Bush administration. He was not alone in transitioning from hen-house guardian to fox: at least 56 DEA and Justice officials left public service to take jubs in the pharmaceutical industry.

President Trump recently announced the appointment of Tom Marino (R-PA) to head the DEA. Marino happened to be the lead sponsor of the bill that stripped the DEA of its enforcement powers. While his nomination would normally move smoothly through a Senate that has no problem with people heading agencies whose fundamental role they hold in contempt, the expose made this nomination a bit of an embarrassment. Marino has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Jon Coppelman
Senior Workers Compensation Consultant

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