Imagine you were a manufacturer of powerful opioid painkillers and your sales representatives discover suspicious activities at the offices of some physicians who prescribed your product. These activities include patients lining up to pay cash for prescription opioids, drug deals going down in the parking lot, people falling asleep from opioid intoxication in the waiting room and physicians being visibly intoxicated themselves. In response would you:
(A) Report these doctors to the authorities?
(B) Insulate yourself by not sending your representatives to these doctors anymore, but continue to pocket the huge profits they generate from writing countless prescriptions for your products?
(C) Keep a secret list of these doctors but publicly promote the idea that painkiller abuse is not driven by wayward doctors but by other sources, such as pharmaceutical robberies?
(D) Reveal the list of doctors to authorities years later only because at that point it could stop a competitor from introducing a new generic medication that might cut into your own sales?
(E) A combination of B, C and D, but certainly not A.
According to Scott Glover and Lisa Girion of the L.A. Times, Purdue Pharma chose option E and thereby preserved its astounding profits from Oxycontin. Continue reading “Painkiller Pill Mills and Corporate Responsibility”