(MYRTLE BEACH) I recently sent the below email to Mike Moore, attorney of tobacco industry multi-billion dollar settlement fame, now tackling the pharmaceutical industry in the opioid crisis crippling every state in the country. The email was sent when I determined that Russell Portenoy, MD was going to be an “expert” testifying for states suing the pharmaceutical industry. Some of those pharmaceutical companies are Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo, Teva, Janssen — the same pharmas promoting the use of opioids while minimizing the dangers and addictive qualities of the drugs — with the encouragement of Portenoy.
Mike – if you’re going to cripple the pharmaceutical industry to the tune of billions of dollars by using Russell Portenoy, MD as an expert, please consider this. Portenoy made millions of dollars off his lies minimizing the addictive qualities of opioids as a spokesperson for pharmaceutical corporations such as Purdue Pharma. In doing so. Portenoy is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. Now he stands to make millions of dollars as a star expert in lawsuits throughout the country, Almost like asking someone such as the late Charles Manson to design security systems to prevent home invasions and keep families safe. Marianne
Portenoy, a “pain expert” in the medical community agreed to testify against the pharmaceutical defendants in ongoing and pending lawsuits brought by states and attorneys general throughout the country seeking billions of dollars associated with addictions and deaths ravaging our country. In a sworn statement, Portenoy said the pharmaceutical industry aggressively promoted opioids for all kinds of ailments. “The opioid manufacturers should have tempered their positive messaging about opioids with a greater focus on risk, particularly as early signals of opioid risk emerged,” Portenoy said in his court declaration. Drug makers also “should have responded as evidence of increasing adverse affects mounted” to increased awareness and “reduce inappropriate or risky prescribing,” he said. (Feeley, 4/8)
Portenoy had received funding from Purdue Pharma, maker of the highly addictive OxyContin, and was a pioneer in speaking out about “untreated chronic pain” saying that opioids needed to be denationalized with virtually no concern about their addiction and abuse calling it a “medical myth.”
Portenoy did more to fan the fires of physicians recklessly prescribing opioids resulting in the minimizing of the risks of addiction — and deaths.
Did Portenoy as the “grim reaper” have the good sense to cancel his insurance as he was being named in hundreds of lawsuits? The theory of not being able to get blood from a stone may have made good business sense to him. But he was cunning enough to make himself more valuable by agreeing to cooperate with lawyers representing states, cities and counties suing drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies in return for dropping legal actions against him. In “cooperating” with lawyers, Portenoy stands to reap millions of dollars as an “expert” in lawsuits. This after making millions of dollars playing down the dangers of opioids — resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and staggering addictions.
Portenoy had toured the country calling opioids “a gift from nature” and pushing access to the drugs as an ethical argument. In 1993, he spoke to the New York Times indicating that opioids could be used for a long time, with few side-effects, and that addiction and abuse were not a problem. Years later, Portenoy admitted his sweeping conclusions were based on “weak, weak, weak data”.
Since attorneys throughout the country are using physician “experts” to win their lawsuits against pharma — and since some of these experts are being paid up to $1,000,000 with huge conflicts of interest and no conscience, I have a suggestion for the attorneys anticipating a windfall in successful settlements of lawsuits.
By now it has become accepted that the opioid epidemic has been “manufactured by man.” Why don’t these physician experts who have benefited financially with their conflicts of interest and lies, testify “pro bono” or donate their testimony for the public good. Freely interpreted, it would mean the Portenoy’s of the epidemic would not be able to stuff their pockets with more blood money.
So Mike Moore, and all the country’s high profile attorneys lining up at the gate to benefit financially in the millions or billions of dollars, why don’t you consider a term I will call the “Gerald Pro Bono Expert Testimony” for the Portenoy’s who forgot the words to the Hippocratic Oath — and end the era of financial profiteers with bloody hands that cannot be washed clean in this epidemic?
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