In 2017 there were over 47,000 opioid-linked deaths in the United States – a six percent increase from 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Massachusetts is now suing Purdue Pharma, maker of Oxycontin, and members of the Sackler family, one of the wealthiest families in America and owners of Purdue Pharma. The suit alleges the Sacklers made billions of dollars as their company pushed doctors to prescribe the pain killer, assuring the drug had a low risk of misuse, even though they knew it was highly addictive. Purdue is also accused of failing to report doctors who were overprescribing the drug. The company is facing hundreds of different suits by state and local governments across the country. Host Dan Loney is joined by Rob Field, Professor of Law and Professor of Health Management and Policy at Drexel University and a lecturer in the Health Care Management Department of the Wharton school, and Keith Humphreys, Professor and Section Director for Mental Health Policy at Stanford University and Senior Research Career Scientist at the VA Health Services Research Center, to discuss these allegations and more on the opioid epidemic on Knowledge at Wharton.
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