Freedom: Is the FDA a competent agency?
The FDA was a real disappointment in not seeming to appreciate the severity and extent of the tragedy—and not being able to do something more definitive about limiting OxyContin. The FDA convened a hearing with its Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products [which regulates new drug applications] in 2010 to deal with the opioid problem. [The division] voted overwhelmingly that risk education should be mandatory—and the FDA turned around and ignored that. They made [it] voluntary and put the pharmaceutical industry in charge of it.
Is Purdue Pharma responsible for the Oxy epidemic?
Enormous promotion and marketing effected overboard prescribing and increased availability of a very potent, highly abusable opioid. That said, there are other factors. We live in a nation where prescription drugs of any stripe are available and there’s a lot of prescription drug abuse.
Did Purdue Pharma and overprescribing doctors help create the country’s heroin epidemic?
It’s not as simple [as that] because there are many factors in the mix. But certainly they played a role in creating the prescription opioid problem, and, tragically, that led to a much-increased heroin problem.