As the opioid crisis continues to worsen, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. The widespread abuse of prescription painkillers led to the surge in opioid abuse, and those prescribed pills were distributed by some of the country’s largest corporations. The Center for Investigative Reporting has this podcast on how it happened and why drug distributors ignored warnings of widespread abuse. There’s also a transcript of the podcast available.
In a commentary at the Wall Street Journal, media strategist Dennis Kneale accuses plaintiff attorneys of “smelling cash” from the opioid crisis and threatening the livelihood of pharmaceutical companies. Kneale says Big Pharma “has an image problem: The industry has been tainted by the opioid crisis.” He goes on to estimate that lawsuits related to the crisis could grow into hundreds of billions of dollars, and compares it to the costly settlement reached 20 years ago with the tobacco companies. You can read the commentary in its entirety here.
Martin Shkreli, the “pharma bro” America loves to hate, finally went too far with his bizarre comments and now has plenty of time to consider his actions in jail. On Wednesday, US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto revoked his $5 million bail because of Shkreli’s bounty on Facebook where he offered $5,000 for a hair from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s head. A jury convicted Shkreli (who is represented by NTL Executive Committee member Benjamin Brafman) of three counts of fraud in August for his involvement with two hedge funds and a pharmaceutical company. Now he’ll sit in a cell until his sentencing hearing in January, when he’ll face up to 20 more years in prison. Is Shkreli a poster boy for Big Pharma, or just another arrogant loudmouth with Internet access? Slate has more on how Shkreli’s arrogance ended his freedom.