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Opioid makers paid millions to advocacy teams: U.S. Senate report

(Reuters) – Five opioid producers together with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP have paid greater than $10 million to advocacy teams and docs tied to them, a lot of whom amplified trade messages supporting using the painkillers, a U.S. Senate report mentioned on Monday.

The report, launched by Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, mentioned teams who obtained the donations aligned themselves with trade objectives and will have performed a job in an epidemic that in 2016 led to 42,000 opioid overdose deaths.

The report launched by McCaskill, the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s rating Democrat, mentioned the teams issued steerage selling opioids for persistent ache and lobbied towards legal guidelines to curb their use.

“These financial relationships were insidious, lacked transparency, and are one of many factors that have resulted in arguably the most deadly drug epidemic in American history,” McCaskill, of Missouri, mentioned in an announcement.

Purdue Pharma, which on Saturday introduced it will cease selling opioids to docs, was the largest donor, giving $four.15 million to 12 teams from 2012 to 2017, the report mentioned.

The teams embrace affected person advocacy organizations and medical skilled societies.

FILE PHOTO: Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) questions Kirstjen Nielsen on her nomination to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) throughout a listening to earlier than the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Washington, U.S., November eight, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

One recipient was the Academy of Integrative Pain Management (AIPM), which partnered with one other group to foyer state legislatures on opioid-related points and struggle efforts to prohibit opioid prescribing, the report mentioned.

Purdue mentioned in an announcement that it supported organizations focused on serving to sufferers obtain acceptable care. AIPM Executive Director Bob Twillman mentioned that monetary contributions had not influenced its positions.

The report mentioned Insys Therapeutics Inc, which markets the fentanyl-based most cancers ache drug Subsys, gave $three.15 million to U.S. Pain Foundation and others, rating No. 2 in donations to the 14 teams examined.

Federal prosecutors have accused a number of former Insys executives and staff, together with billionaire Insys founder John Kapoor, of participating in a scheme to pay kickbacks to docs to prescribe Subsys. Kapoor has pleaded not responsible.

U.S. Pain Foundation mentioned the $2.5 million Insys donated in 2017 was for a fund to assist most cancers sufferers pay for ache medicine, and that the cash didn’t affect its values. Insys mentioned it strives to observe rules.

The report mentioned the teams additionally obtained $1.07 million from Depomed Inc, $465,142 from Johnson & Johnson and $20,250 from Mylan NV.

Doctors affiliated with the organizations obtained $1.6 million, the report mentioned.

Depomed mentioned its contributions amounted to on common nearly $20,000 a yr for 9 teams and mentioned it believed it acted responsibly in advertising its medicine. J&J mentioned it co-operated with McCaskill. Mylan emphasised its small opioid marketshare.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Andrew Hay and Rosalba O’Brien

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