March 13, 2018 – San Diego, CA. In the most recent shocking moves by large pharmaceutical companies and its distributors, we learned that opioid pain pill manufacturers have been distributing 20.8 million oxycodone and hydrocodone pills into the small West Virginia community of Williamson between 2006 and 2016. This represents 6,500 opioid pills per person.
Two pharmacies within four blocks of each other accounted for and dispensed 20.8 million painkillers in a community of a little over 3,100 people. When a congressional committee investigated, they found two wholesalers; Miami-Luken and H.D. Smith were the suppliers of this vast quantity of pain pills in this town.
Why was West Virginia flooded with pain pills?
This is the exact question Congress is asking about this drug dealing fiasco. On January 26, 2018 the Committee of Energy and Commerce sent a 10 page letter to both Miami-Luken’s Chairman of the Board Dr. Joseph Mastandrea and to Mr. Michael Faul, President and CEO.
Two pharmacies in West Virginia did the bulk of pill pushing, Tug Valley Pharmacy and Westside Pharmacy.
- Tug Valley Pharmacy received a total of 6,386,300 opioid pills from 2008-2015.
- Westside Pharmacy received a total of 4,391,520 opioid pills from 2008-2015.
Miami-Luken sent its own investigator to gauge whether Westside Pharmacy prescribing practices were “normal” and was found the numbers were “acceptable”. How is this huge number acceptable? Why didn’t the DEA step in if they knew of this huge influx of drugs? Surely the 350 percent increase from 2008 to 2009 should have raised the red flags.
Here are the actual excerpts from the 10-page letter from Congress addressing Miami-Luken’s practices:
“According to U.S. Census data, Williamson’s population was 3,191 in 2010”
- Did Miami-Luken use any analytical tools to assess whether the amount of pills distributed to Tug Valley Pharmacy was appropriate for a town of 3,191 in a rural region of West Virginia? If so, what were they and information did they yield about distribution to this pharmacy? If no such tools were in use, why not?
- Did Miami-Luken perform any analysis to understand why the number of pills that sent to Tug Valley Pharmacy increased by over 350 percent over a single year period from 2008 to 2009? Did Miami-Luken have any formal policies in place to trigger specific reviews if certain threshold amounts (by percentage) were increased? if so, what were they? If not such threshold policies were in place, why not?
- Did Miami-Luken make any effort to determine that total number of pills sent to Williamson, and whether the amount of opioid that Miami-Luken sent to Tug Valley Pharmacy was appropriate in light of this overall total?
Richard Blake, an attorney for Miami-Luken, said they are in the process of crafting a response.
Pain Doctors also played a part.
In an Evaluation Report for Westside Pharmacy done by the same Miami-Luken investigator in 2015 reported that Dr. David Morgan, located out of the state, was responsible for prescribing 39 percent of all oxycodone pills dispensed from Westside Pharmacy. This equates to roughly 72 patients a month.
It’s not a conspiracy it’s simply called opioid drug dealing.
There is a clear and easy way to understand the American problem with Big Pharma, simply put, they put profit over people. Also in this case, why didn’t our Drug Enforcement Agency step in?
Since the 1990s big powerful pharmaceutical companies began aggressive and potentially fraudulent marketing schemes to drive sales of opioid based drugs like OxyContin.
Big Pharma has a known track record spending more money marketing to doctors than on drug research. Pharmaceutical companies pay doctors in the form of meals, speaking gigs, literature, travel and more, and have been doing so for years. Until recently, however, it remained unclear just how much Big Pharma was spending and which doctors were accepting its contributions.
Read more on money spent on doctor’s here: https://www.nationalinjuryhelp.com/dangerous-drugs/doctors-big-pharma-money/
It’s because of this big money marketing to doctors, combined with the drop in heroin prices led many down the road to addiction. What started as a real medical need to manage pain ends up creating a nation of addict’s.
What can you do if you or a loved one has been affected by the opioid epidemic?
If you or a loved one has suffered due to an opioid-prescription overdose or an overdose on heroin after an initial addiction to pain medication, we understand that it’s not your fault! We here to help and you may qualify for a cash award and substantial financial compensation.
Please visit http://painkillerproblems.com/ to start the process of holding the opioid manufacturers and the distribution channels responsible for this terrible American dilemma.