The Late Show with Stephen Colbert took a swipe at the family behind Big Pharma giant Purdue Pharma, blaming the company and its owners for what he described as its ruthless plan to increase profits by increasing the number of opioid addicts around the world.
Colbert calls the opioid epidemic a problem that affects both political parties. “It does not discriminate,” he said. “And a lot of people blame big pharma. But only because it’s their fault.”
National Safety Council reported that 80 percent of new heroin users started on the illicit drug after misusing prescription pain killers. It was the drug companies that manufactured and marketed these drugs, like Purdue Pharma, that are now facing hundreds of lawsuits alleging they downplayed how addictive the drugs are, exaggerated the benefits, and told doctors they were violating Hippocratic Oath and failing their patients if they didn’t prescribe the drugs to their patients in pain.
Purdue Pharma, which makes the powerful opioid OxyContin, is owned by the Sackler Family, which Colbert said has been especially ruthless in its push for profits over patients. The company claimed it didn’t know OxyContin was addictive until 2000 despite its sales reps in the late 1990s referring to OxyContin using terms usually applied to street drugs, like “crush” and “snort.”
In 2007, Purdue Pharma pled guilty for misleading regulators about OxyContin’s potential for abuse and paid a $600 million fine – a drop in the bucket for a company worth upwards of $35 billion.
The family has profited greatly from sales of the drug. “And now the Sacklers is taking their drug empire global,” Colbert said. “Because the family is moving rapidly into Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and other regions, and pushing for broad use of painkillers.”
Ironically, the Sacklers also own Rhodes Pharma, which is one of the largest manufacturers of off-patent generic opioids in the United States. The company also recently patented a new drug to help wean addicts off opioids, to which Colbert said, “The Sacklers addicted the country to opioids now they’re going to profit off the cure?”
Source: YouTube/Stephen Colbert