Quantcast
Connect with us

Sen. Joe Manchin backs suit by addicts who say docs and Big Pharma conspired to hook them on opioids

Published

on

A West Virginia senator whose daughter is embroiled in the EpiPen price-gouging scandal backs a lawsuit filed by dozens of former painkiller addicts and their families against doctors and drug makers.

The lawsuit, which is expected to go to trial later this year, accuses doctors, pharmacies and distributors of conspiring to deliberately get them addicted to opioid-based prescription pills, reported The Guardian.

The defendants argued that the former addicts should not be allowed to sue because their own criminal actions caused them to become physically dependent on the prescribed medications — but the state supreme court rejected that claim and allowed the case to proceed.

Their argument is backed by pharmaceutical manufacturers, who stand to lose millions of dollars if the lawsuit succeeds.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) backs the former addicts and their families, comparing the pharmaceutical companies to cigarette manufacturers.

“That’s the same argument that the tobacco industry used,” Manchin said. “They can’t go down that path. It’s an epidemic because we have a business model for it. Follow the money. Look at the amount of pills they shipped into certain parts of our state. It was a business model.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Manchin has been dragged into the widening scandal over the increasing cost of the life-saving EpiPen allergy drug involving his daughter, Heather Bresch, who is CEO of the pharmaceutical manufacturer Mylan.

Bresch enjoyed a 671 percent pay raise after acquiring EpiPens and raising the cost by more than 400 percent — then dumping more than 100,000 shares of Mylan stock after analysts warned she and the company faced a potential public relations nightmare.

Mylan shares dropped from $49 on Aug. 18 to $42.91 on Aug. 26, after the EpiPen controversy erupted.

West Virginia has been hit particularly hard by prescription drug addiction, and the related heroin epidemic.

ADVERTISEMENT

Six drug wholesalers agreed this year to a $6.7 million settlement with the state after they were accused of distributing millions of prescription opioids, although McKesson Corp. and other drugmakers are continuing to fight the accusations.

The companies argue that West Virginia’s pharmacy board, which licenses drug wholesalers, would have taken action if they were at fault — but Manchin disagreed.

“Look at the amount of pills they shipped into certain parts of our state and the pill mills that sprouted up and everyone trying to hide behind thinking it was legal,” Manchin said. “It was awful, absolutely awful. I believe it was business-driven, it was a business model. Those who have done extremely well on that and been rewarded very highly for that have looked at it as a legal business plan like any other business plan.”

Wilbert Hatcher is one of 29 former addicts or their relatives who have sued “a veritable rogue’s gallery of pill-pushing doctors and pharmacies” who he claims knowingly and intentionally got him addicted to pain pills and then refused to help him get clean.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It was a conspiracy,” said attorney Jim Cagle, who represents Hatcher and the others. “Doctors and pharmacies were keeping them hooked. They were feeding the addiction.”

Some of the physicians and pharmacists named in the suit have been jailed or lost their medical licenses.

“It’s a circle — you go to the doctor and they bill you,” said Hatcher, who has been clean for about three years but lost a decade to drug addiction. “The pharmacy, they’re a part of it because they were giving out a whole bunch of pills. It’s business. This is spit town. How many pills were they selling? Enough for a major city. This is ridiculous.”

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Hope Hicks told Congress that Trump has cut her out of his life — he virtually never calls her anymore

Published

on

Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was broadly considered to be one of President Donald Trump's favorite staffers.

But when she left the administration in 2018, the president virtually cut off ties to her, and has only spoken with her five times since then, according to the transcript of the closed-door hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday:

In her interview, Hope Hicks says she has only spoken to Trump between five and ten times since she left the White House in February 2018. (He used to call that much in a day.) They last spoke in April, when they had dinner. Our story from yesterday:https://t.co/3gzVY21c3z pic.twitter.com/VMZqhnbgib

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Elections regulator warns foreign intrusion into US campaigns is already happening

Published

on

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Federal Elections Commission is warning that there is already foreign intrusion in the U.S. campaigns.

FEC chair Ellen L. Weintraub was forced to issue a statement after President Donald Trump said that he wasn't sure what he would do if a foreign government approached him with "dirt" on his political opponent. He said that he "might" tell the FBI but would likely hear what they had to say. He said that it wasn't illegal, but Weintraub issued a statement reiterating that it is illegal.

"I am particularly concerned about the risk of illicit funds and foreign support influencing our political system. Foreign dark money represents a significant vulnerability for American democracy. We do not know the extent to which our political campaigns receive foreign dark money, but we do know that the political money can be weaponized by well-funded hostile powers," the letter warned.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump’s anti-abortion rule attacking Planned Parenthood can go into effect in 49 states: appeals court

Published

on

According to the Associated Press, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump's domestic "gag rule" can take effect while litigation proceeds, potentially making it far harder for low-income women to access abortion care.

District judges in California, Oregon, and Washington previously blocked the rule from taking effect. But a three-judge panel in San Francisco today said that the rule was "reasonable" as an interpretation of federal law, and lifted the injunction preventing it from being enforced. The rule can now take effect in every state except Maryland, where another federal judge's order has still enjoined the policy.

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

I need your help.

Investigating Trump's henchmen is a full time job, and I'm trying to bring in new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have more stories coming you'll love. Join me and help restore the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link

Investigating Trump is a full-time job, and I want to add new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have stories coming you'll love. Join me and go ad-free, while restoring the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link