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The Morality of Blood Money and the Price of Righteousness


Originally Published: 02/11/2018

Post Date: 02/11/2018

by Tim Cheney


Big Pharmas attempt to scam addiction recovery industry


  The recent article posted by the New York Times alleging that Big Pharma has stepped up to the plate as an ally in the battle of opioid addiction is a wolf masquerading in sheeps clothing. I think Jesus had Big Pharma in mind when he said "
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." 
Pharmaceutical companies have enlisted the support of a prominent anti-addiction advocate as they battle the perception that they created an epidemic.


Gut Reaction

Their paltry contribution of 4.7 million dollars (over 35 billion dollars’ revenue) to atone for the unprecedented genocide and suffering that resulted from blatant wanton disregard of the consequences of deliberately misrepresenting a highly potent opioid as a safe pain management medication is a derelict sociopathic marketing ploy designed to rebrand and redeem their soiled reputation. Redemption? I sincerely doubt it. This is a chapter borrowed from the tobacco industry and is an obscene insult to the families who have lost loved ones, the persons suffering from opioid use disorder and the treatment and recovery communities that are cleaning up the carnage.  "It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing". 

Incidentally, while Purdue Pharma is doing its atonement campaign in the US, they are aggressively marketing OxyContin, under the corporate banner of  Mundipharm overseas and targeting at risk populations 


Pride vs Principle

So the question is do we as an industry do as countries ravaged by war - take the money and rebuild an outdated treatment industry and advocate for substance use disorder as a healthcare issue with the mission of elevating awareness, changing societal perception and legislating massive public health reform that would save hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars or do we stand on pride and exile Big Pharma from our coffers.  Ethics demands the greatest good for the greatest number yet it is hard to give a pardon to an organization that has ruthlessly decimated an entire generation. I believe there is an alternative and perhaps it would motivate corporate America to step up. This is a bitter pill to swallow however we as a recovery community have to address this issue in a logical and practical and unified fashion. Our failure to do so could erode the foundation of our movement by diminishing our credibility and polarizing our members. We must logically define our moral compass and speak from a position of power and conviction. 


A Possible Solution

We adopt a strategy similar to the Tobacco Industry settlements but have the monies go directly to newly established foundations in each state and then distributed to Recovery and Treatment organizations. This would be a marketed as a fine with the clear distinction of blood money attached. Purdue Pharma et al would have no affiliation with any individual program and would derive no marketing benefit to alter their reputation. No white horse image and no good samaritan awards will be given. 


How Much 

How much? There is no amount that is enough because human life, in a moral sense, has no economic valuation. It is priceless.

Certainly not 4.7 million dollars. The Sackler family derives 700 million plus annually from OxyContin Sales and is in the Forbes top 20 wealthiest families in America. Sales as of 2015 of OxyContin have exceeded 35 billion dollars. Perhaps an escrowed endowment of 250 million per year for a minimum duration of five years.