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May-18-2012 23:58printcomments

Will Purdue Pharma's Deep Pockets Buy Leniency in Senate Investigation ?

Purdue Pharma has until June 8 to produce documents demanded by the Senate Finance Committee.

Purdue headquarters in Stamford, Ct.
Purdue headquarters in Stamford, Ct.

(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - In the past few weeks, I have been writing articles about the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma and their financial funding of pain organizations, in particular the American Pain Foundation (APF). Link to recent article provided here: OxyContin Manufacturer Purdue Pharma Subject of Senate Investigation.

As a result of hard facts, ProPublica, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a professional organization known as Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) were hugely responsible for a Senate investigation of pharma's ties to pain foundations. The investigation was announced the beginning of this month -- coincidentally as the American Pain Foundation announced it was closing its doors. Here are the names of the members of the Senate Finance Committee who will be investigating the pharmaceutical company ties to these financially fed pain foundations:

Members of Senate Finance Committee

Baucus, Max (MT), Chairman
Rockefeller, John D. (WV)
Conrad, Kent (ND)
Bingaman, Jeff (NM)
Kerry, John F. (MA)
Wyden, Ron (OR)
Schumer, Charles E. (NY)
Stabenow, Debbie (MI)
Cantwell, Maria (WA)
Nelson, Bill (FL)
Menendez, Robert (NJ)
Carper, Thomas R. (DE)
Cardin, Benjamin L. (MD)
Hatch, Orrin G. (UT), Ranking Member
Grassley, Chuck (IA)
Snowe, Olympia J. (ME)
Kyl, Jon (AZ)
Crapo, Mike (ID)
Roberts, Pat (KS)
Enzi, Michael B. (WY)
Cornyn, John (TX)
Coburn, Tom (OK)
Thune, John (SD)
Burr, Richard (NC)

Tom Coburn (R) Senate - Okla.

In July 2007, I appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to testify against Purdue Pharma after they pleaded guilty to misleading physicians and patients about the dangers of OxyContin. One of the senators I appeared in front of was Tom Coburn of Oklahoma who now serves on the Finance Committee investigating Purdue Pharma and the American Pain Foundation. After my testimony was given, Senator Coburn defended Purdue Pharma to Senate members. At the end of the session, Senator Coburn came over to me to shake my hand.

As I shook his hand, I told him that he should be ashamed of himself for defending a company responsible for such devastation in lives. He did not reply, but walked away. Last I saw, Oklahoma leads the country in prescription drug deaths and addictions -- and OxyContin being the leader of the pack in prescription drugs. Hopefully Senator Coburn will not be in "defending" mode of pharma in the Senate's investigation of Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies as well as the American Pain Foundation and paid physician consultants in their pushing of opioids.

John H. Stewart, President
and CEO of Purdue Pharma

In a letter dated May 8, 2012 to John H. Stewart, President and Chief Executive Officer of Purdue Pharma, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance directed that "In cooperating with the Committee's review, no documents, records, data, or other information related to these matters, either directly or indirectly, shall be destroyed, modified, removed or otherwise made inaccessible to the Committee." What the Senate may not be aware of is that Purdue Pharma has an ingenious patent that destroys emails and documents. A virus in the form of a Trojan horse is attached to files. It is a self-destruction document or email messaging system that automatically destroys documents or email messages at a predetermined time by attaching a "virus" to the document or email message. The virus contains a portion of executable code or an executable program which instructs the computer to overwrite and/or delete the file to which the virus is attached at a desired time. Since the virus is attached to the file, it will travel with the file even when the file is copied, forwarded, or saved to disks or tape drives. Right out of Mission Impossible -- but why add the extra feature of a virus? What could Purdue Pharma be trying to hide?

I wonder if the Senate will find it interesting that not only was Udell general counsel of Purdue Pharma, but also an "inventor." Udell pleaded guilty to misleading physicians and patients about the dangers of OxyContin. So when Purdue Pharma faces the deadline of June 8 to produce the documents and information the Senate Finance Committee has demanded, will they reply "Wish we could have complied, but you see we have this patent -- and all that information was eaten by a worm. Did we do something wrong -- again?"

Attorney Howard R. Udell

Here is the patent information with Purdue Pharma's General Counsel, Howard Udell's name on it. Inventors:
Udell, Howard R. (US)
Baker, Stuart D. (US)
Kappel, Cary S. (US)
Sherman, Greg M. (US)
Ries, William (US)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
06/16/1998 And this off a pharmaceutical blog about their employer, Purdue Pharma being investigated by the Senate -- "This is great news! Please remember to include those dinners. I remember in Dallas having $150 glasses of port! Not $150 for a bottle, $150 for a glass. The docs, as well as field and Home Office, enjoyed! So review the expense reports for a clear picture of what we paid these guys to pimp our products."
- Anonymous My hope is that the Senate too "enjoys" what is uncovered in their investigation.

One physician being investigated by the U.S. Senate is Scott M. Fishman, MD author of a book entitled "Responsible Opioid Prescribing: A Physician's Guide" distributed by the Federation of State Medical Boards as a guide to physicians in pushing opioids for all levels of pain. In a recent statement, Dr. Fishman said he was not paid for his work on the book and does not receive royalties. He acknowledged that when the first edition of the book was written in 2006, the science on the effectiveness of opioids "was not robust" and data on the severe risks "had yet to emerge.” Since then, new data on risks, including unintended overdose deaths, have emerged, he said.

The new risk information will be included in an expanded version of the book that will be published by the spring, he stated. Since every state in the country was dealing with OxyContin deaths, addictions and abuse well before Dr. Fishman wrote his guidebook minimizing the risks of prescribing opioids to patients by physicians, the good doctor's defense statement is a difficult pill to swallow. To quote Mark Twain: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

LP -- To be loved by you is the greatest gift I could ever ask for -- even ducks and monkeys know it.>senate-panel-launches-investigation-of-painkillers-drug-companies-4u5arr1-150767225.html

_______________________________________ Investigative Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.

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drjf May 24, 2012 2:42 pm (Pacific time)

Marianna: The correct US Patent number is 7191219 (on the Purdue/ Udell file killer)if you search the USPTO database by patent number.

Purdue Employee at Cranbury NJ Site May 21, 2012 6:24 am (Pacific time)

Marianne I have always followed your articles. Since July 2007 Purdue entered a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) which will expire this year (after 5 years) and as part of this agreement documentation cannot be destroy. But you bring a good point, you may want to contact the Huron Consulting Group in charge of monitoring Purdue's CIA and ask that question.

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