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

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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.

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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.”

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

“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.”

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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.”


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Trump declares it was a ‘great day for the GOP’ — and is mercilessly ridiculed for his absurd claim

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President Donald Trump responded to the end of the day's impeachment hearings by saying that it was a great day for the Republican Party and for the United States. There were many people who disagreed, however.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1196958035127783427

Every person who testified before Congress has said that Trump's obsession with Joe Biden was concerning enough to alert others. Even National Security Council aide Tim Morrison stressed that he didn’t believe there was anything inappropriate about the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But when Rep. Val Demmings (D-FL) asked him why then he felt the need to report it if there was nothing wrong, Morrison struggled to find an answer.

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Four shootings in Philly — in 20-minutes — leave one dead and five wounded

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Police in Philadelphia are spending Monday evening responding to multiple shootings.

"Police are investigating four separate shootings that left one man dead as gunfire erupted across Philadelphia Tuesday night," CBS Philly reports.

One man was killed and two wounded in a triple shooting in the Logan section.

Another man was shot four times in East Mount Airy.

A man is in stable condition after being shot in the chest in Kingsessing.

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CNN legal analyst flattens Rick Santorum for ridiculous impeachment defense of Trump

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Former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum was shut down on CNN for his latest defense of President Donald Trump.

Santorum was effectively arguing for people to ignore the words coming from Trump.

"Wait, this argument is insane," Carrie Cordero said. "You cannot argue that the president of the United States' words do not matter or that he's just sort of spouting off or he has his own views."

"The reality is we ignore 80 to 90% of what the president says," Santorum argued. "Look at the tweets, we ignore most of those things he tweets and say 'it's Trump being Trump.'"

Then CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin flattened Santorum.

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