Source: The American Independent
You might think that there’s no one out there who approves of the opioid crisis and the pharmaceutical companies responsible for it, but North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson apparently does, according to an article in the American Independent.
Robinson, who is running for governor in 2024, recently attacked North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (his likely Democratic opponent next year) for suing the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the spread of the opioid crisis.
Whether you love Stein, you don’t like him or you don’t even know who he is, if there’s one thing everyone should credit him for it’s his relentless pursuit of justice for victims of the opioid crisis and their families. Stein was one of a number of attorneys general across the country who sued the companies responsible for pushing opioids on consumers. Because of Stein’s efforts, North Carolina and other states have received billions of dollars from the pharmaceutical industry to settle claims that these companies knowingly profited from the misuse of their drugs.
Addiction impacts people of all races, religions, socioeconomic status, political beliefs, etc. Addiction doesn’t care who you voted for. If there’s one thing that people should all be able to agree on it’s that intentionally inflicting pain, especially for the sole purpose of lining one’s pockets with money, should result in some sort of punishment. In this case, that punishment is a multi-billion dollar settlement.
But Mark Robinson isn’t happy about this. While speaking at a New Hanover County Republican Party gala on July 8, he said that a mother whose son died from a fentanyl overdose had asked him how he’d address the issue.
Here’s what he said:
“I’m going to tell you what I intend to do. I don’t intend to do like our current attorney general did and sue the drug company. See, the drug company is not the one out here on the streets peddling the dope. The drug companies are not the ones to allow them to come over our border to bring it into your neighborhood and sell to your children illegally. You know who’s doing that? Drug gangs, gangs, uh, dope peddlers. When was the last time you saw Josh Stein going after some real dope gangs? When was the last time you saw him go after the fentanyl pushers that are coming across the border?”
Perhaps Robinson is unaware, but OxyContin – the drug that started the crisis – is made by Purdue Pharma. The company was founded in New York, is currently headquartered in Connecticut, and manufacture the drugs in New Jersey, Rhode Island and right here in Wilson, North Carolina.
These drug peddlers are American. These drugs are not coming over any borders. They’re coming out of a factory 40 minutes outside Raleigh and they’re being handed out to patients by doctors, not “drug gangs” and “dope peddlers.”
This is not secret information. Medical experts have said that companies like Purdue Pharma played a major role in the recent spike in addiction that we’ve seen and companies have even admitted to breaking the law and profiting from addiction. Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and violation of anti-fraud and anti-kickback laws in 2020.
“Purdue admitted that it marketed and sold its dangerous opioid products to healthcare providers, even though it had reason to believe those providers were diverting them to abusers,” Rachael Honig, assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, said in a Justice Department statement. “The company lied to the Drug Enforcement Administration about steps it had taken to prevent such diversion, fraudulently increasing the amount of its products it was permitted to sell. Purdue also paid kickbacks to providers to encourage them to prescribe even more of its products.”
These lawsuits are not partisan issues, either. Both Republican and Democratic attorneys general filed these suits starting back in 2017. In July 2021, Johnson & Johnson and three other companies agreed to a $26 billion settlement and North Carolina was awarded $750 million from it.
The money, Stein has said, will be used for harm reduction and they “represent hope, hope for people and hope that they can get treatment so they can live a life free of addiction.”
According to the American Independent, “Stein and other prosecutors secured $1.6 billion in a February 2020 settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer Mallinckrodt. In December 2022, Stein and 17 state attorneys general reached an $11 billion settlement with CVS and Walgreens.”
North Carolina has so far received more than $1 billion in opioid settlement funds during Stein’s time as attorney general.