OxyContin Kills, Doctors and Executives Profit

OxyContin and other prescription painkillers have fueled a surge in drug overdoses, which in 2009 claimed 39,147 lives, surpassing for the first time traffic accidents as a leading cause of preventable deaths. Two years later, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared prescription drug overdoses an epidemic.

Last year, a Times analysis showed that drugs prescribed by doctors played a role in nearly half the prescription overdose deaths in Southern California from 2006 through 2011. Seventy-one doctors prescribed drugs to three or more patients who fatally overdosed. Oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, was one of the most often cited drugs in the deaths.

Concerned by the mounting death toll, a congressional oversight committee in June called three top federal officials to testify about the government’s response to the prescription drug crisis. Louisiana Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy asked why the government wasn’t mining prescribing data to target rogue doctors.

“I’m expecting it’s going to be a small percent writing a lot of the inappropriate prescriptions,” said Cassidy, himself a physician. “What’s the challenge in figuring out which doctors are the bad actors?”

President Obama’s drug czar, R. Gil Kerlikowske, testified that the federal government didn’t have access to such information.

via OxyContin maker closely guards its list of suspect doctors – latimes.com.

And the drug makers know exactly who is passing out the pills.  I’m sure they’ll get right on that, and try to cut down use of their patent protected (and expensive) medicine.

According to Purdue, when the company introduced a tamper-resistant formulation in August 2010, the doctors’ prescriptions for maximum-strength OxyContin — the one favored by addicts — plummeted by 80%. Prescriptions for Opana, a narcotic painkiller made by a rival that could still be crushed and snorted, shot up about 400%, the internal study found. When crush-resistant Opana came out two years later, the same doctors’ prescriptions for that drug also plunged.

Sequestration Ushers In A Dark Age For Science In America

In 2013 alone, NIH, the primary federal spigot for projects impacting human health, will be forced to cut $1.7 billion from its budget. Government agencies across the board are making similar reductions in their research budgets as well. The length of some grants have been shortened, while others have decreased in size and still others have been eliminated altogether. Though they aren’t supposed to do so, university officials have begun siphoning money from funded projects to those feeling the pinch, in hopes that if they hang on long enough, help will eventually come.


At the University of Virginia, hopes are wearing thin. After our first phone interview in July, Dutta ended the conversation with thanks. “I appreciate you doing this story because we need your help, buddy,” he said. “We are in deep shit.”

via Sequestration Ushers In A Dark Age For Science In America.

And while the Republicans cheer blind “spending cuts”, they also lament any slippage in the U.S.’s technical and scientific rate of achievement….never putting two and two together.

Teabaggers are Largely Ignorant Assholes


“Despite the anger that a lot of people brought, I think it’s good to talk about these issues,” said Thomas Maguire, associate director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. “I raised some of those issues myself because I wanted to be able to have those discussions.”

As one of the three panelists, Maguire was joined by Amir Toft, a doctoral student in Near Eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago, and Iman Sedique, a doctoral student in sociology at Northwestern University.

Together they repeatedly asked the audience to maintain an open mind about Islam. In return, they were peppered with questions about Muslim extremists and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Can’t wait for time to do its thing to these folks.