Key takeaways

  • Pharmaceutical companies in the US created demand for opioids such as heroin and fentanyl by prescribing opioid painkillers and getting people addicted
  • Arthur M. Sackler and the Sackler family are pointed to as the main “pushers” of opioid painkillers such as oxycontin. However Arthur himself died before oxycontin was introduced. The company is called Purdue Pharma.
  • Johnson & Johnson produce most of the raw materials for opioids in Tasmania
  • Purdue Pharma got into trouble already 2001 with federal investigations, but squirmed out of it. Federal investigation in Virginia in 2006. However Rudy Giuliani stopped them. Some executives plead guilty to misdemeanor charges.

Interestingly, in promo material to doctors Purdue Pharma often spoke about a “pain epidemic”.

Between-state painkiller prescription differences is in part explained by the level of scrutiny doctors received when prescribing the drugs