prescription drugs

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about Attorney General Mike Hunter filing a lawsuit against major opioid distributors in the state, the governor's task force on corrections reform releases its report while also asking for more time to come up with detailed plans to reduce the state's prison population and two initiative petitions to make recreational marijuana legal in the state are getting push back from the state's medical marijuana industry.

 

Chris Landsberger / The Oklahoman

The legal fight over who is responsible, and who should pay for the national opioid crisis that has killed thousands of Americans will likely take years.

Sentencing is scheduled to begin on Monday in the criminal trial of top executives at Insys Therapeutics. This landmark case was the first successful prosecution of high-ranking pharmaceutical executives linked to the opioid crisis, including onetime billionaire John Kapoor.

There's the crazy that people who don't have a family member with an addiction just don't understand, Henriët Schapelhouman said.

"There's high highs where it looks like, 'Oh, they're better,' because they're pretending really well," she said. "Then, within hours there's a crash because they're using again; there was a fight; they're slamming the door. And you're just heartbroken."

A Decade Marked By Outrage Over Drug Prices

Dec 31, 2019

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., was in the middle of describing drug price gouging as a scheme to enrich a few industry executives at the expense of everyday patients when he stopped to reprimand a witness.

"It's not funny, Mr. Shkreli," said Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform until his death this past October, to a smirking man at the table before him. "People are dying. And they're getting sicker and sicker."

Dr. Angela Gatzke-Plamann didn't fully grasp her community's opioid crisis until one desperate patient called on a Friday afternoon in 2016.

"He was in complete crisis because he was admitting to me that he had lost control of his use of opioids," recalls Gatzke-Plamann.

The patient had used opioids for several years for what Gatzke-Plamann calls "a very painful condition." But a urine screening one week earlier had revealed heroin and morphine in his system as well. He denied any misuse that day. Now he was not only admitting it, but asking for help.

Legal experts expected this to be the year we answered big questions about the liability that drug companies face for the deadly opioid epidemic and for their role in marketing high-risk prescription pain medications.

Instead, the legal fight over who will pay to clean up the addiction crisis dissolved into confusion and infighting.

"I don't know if there's a clear road map," said Adam Zimmerman, a professor at Loyola Law School and an expert in opioid litigation.

Updated at 1:22 p.m. ET

The family that owns Purdue Pharma pulled billions of dollars from the company after introducing its signature opioid medication, OxyContin, growing personally wealthy as the heavily marketed drug took on a significant role in a nationwide addiction crisis.

Updated at on Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Congressional leaders unveiled two massive spending measures and touted key wins in the $1.3 trillion spending agreement to fund the government for the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year just days before a critical government shutdown deadline.

The House passed the spending bills with bipartisan support on Tuesday. The Senate is expected to approve both bills later this week and send them to the president for his signature.

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET

Practically everyone is frustrated by high prescription drug prices. Voters have made clear they want Congress to do something about them.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that tries to deliver on that. It was a mostly party line vote — all Democrats voted to pass it, along with two Republicans.

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