At first, I didn’t blame big Pharma for the overdose death of my son, but then I found out about their lying sales pitches and lack of any monitoring their sales. Their sales reps were telling doctors that their opiates were of a new formulation without the risk of addiction. Pharmaceutical companies are supposed to monitor their sales for any signs that those pills are being diverted for sale through unscrupulous pharmacies, clinics or doctors. One small town in West Virginia has a population of 3,200. Over the past ten years 21 million doses were shipped to that town. If all of those opiates were for the residents of that town, each person would have to take more than 6,500 opiate doses during that period! Even a really bad monitoring program should have caught that.
Individual states suing and settling with these companies is hasty and the wrong way to go. These companies are agreeing to these settlements because they want to have a flat, fixed amount of money that they can build into their budget.
There should be a federal law suit and the judgment should be require the companies who sold opiates in the United States to pay for addiction treatment forever. Each company’s share of the addiction treatment fund would be prorated by the percentage of opiates they sold. This addiction treatment fund should have a sizable initial contribution as a hedge against any of them who decide to declare bankruptcy.