Opioid manufacturers paid $1 million to Florida lawmakers, says report
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi recently announced her decision to sue some of the biggest opioid manufacturers for the devastation they unleashed over the years in the state. Bondi alleged that drug makers and distributors used fraudulent means to downplay the addictive nature of opioids, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Floridians. Now, media reports suggest that these companies paid over $1 million to state lawmakers over the past two decades.
According to an analysis by the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald, nearly 89 percent of the amount went to either Republican candidates or Republican committees. The analysis showed that though the amounts paid to individual candidates were not big, they were meant for several candidates and party committees. The Republican State Leadership Committee is alleged to have received $225,000, while another $429,550 was supposedly diverted to the Republican Party of Florida.
In her lawsuit, Bondi has accused the drug makers of violation of the Florida RICO Act, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and common law public nuisance. Among the nine companies mentioned in the lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals marketed opioids Tapentadol and Nucynta, is said to have paid the maximum money, amounting to nearly $477,000. “The false statements and omissions by Janssen were made to Florida doctors, other prescribers, and consumers and led them to prescribe and consume Janssen’s opioid products,” says the lawsuit.
The complaint also held Purdue Pharma responsible for targeting veterans to sell opioids for managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without warning them about the deadly outcomes of combining benzodiazepines with opioids. The complaint also alleges that Purdue Pharma marketed its drugs by using deceptive tactics like online articles that encouraged veterans to insist on receiving their preferred pain management options. The company is alleged to have given $116,500 to Florida politicians.
One of the alleged recipients of a large sum of money from drug makers, state Representative Jason Brodeur from Sanford denied the merits of the recent lawsuit by describing it as a deterrent to business and research investments. Brodeur, who is also the chairman of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, refuted the allegations, saying that the drug makers adhere to rigorous clinical trial procedures mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support their claims.
Opioid crisis is real
According to the Florida Health Department, since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent in the state. Shockingly, the state witnessed a 200 percent rise in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (pain relievers and heroin). Experts feel that doctors writing unethical prescriptions for opioid painkillers have fueled the epidemic that killed millions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 46 people die due to overdoses involving prescription opioids every day. The data also shows that over 200,000 Americans succumbed to overdoses related to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2016. Needless to say, authorities should ensure that every American is educated about the dangers of opioid abuse because being aware is the key to preventing addiction to addictive drugs.
Many unwary individuals fall prey to opioid use disorder more quickly than they may ever imagine. The only way to break free from the stronghold of lethal addictive opioids is to seek timely medical intervention to combat the life-wrecking effects of such drugs. If you or a loved one is struggling to overcome opioid addiction, contact the Recover Mental Health. Call us at our 24/7 opioid addiction treatment helpline number 866-593-2339 or chat online with one of our experts to know more. Our representatives will give you all the information about state-of-the-art opioid rehab centers in your vicinity.