Receive breaking news and special reports. The news and stories that mattered provided the day of the week in the morning.
By [Strickland] By Laura Strickler
WASHINGTON – A former senior official of the US Drug Enforcement Administration testified prior to the congress on the government's efforts to halt the opioid epidemic , is now being paid to advise one of the country's largest opioid manufacturers, Purdue Pharma, by people who are familiar with the matter. Demetra Ashley, former deputy deputy administrator of the DEA, who told a Senate committee in 2017 about the need for a "robust regulatory program" to prevent the distraction of opioids and other controlled prescription drugs, left the DEA last spring and founded one Consultancy company called Dashley Consulting, LLC LinkedIn Page.
Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the opioid analgesic OxyContin, is one of the opioid companies sued by more than 1,600 towns and counties for "grossly false" representation. The lawsuits have been summarized in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, in a case in which Purdue vehemently denies allegations that they have deceptively marketed OxyContin.
Ashley spent three decades with the DEA, specializing in preventing the distraction of prescription drugs like OxyContin.
Reached by NBC News on her cell phone in Chicago, Ashley said, "I've been advising industry representatives and following my retirement in June 2018 started with my consulting business. "Ashley said she can neither confirm nor deny who her customers are unless" they say it's alright. "
Purdue declined NBC News opinion on its advisers
Ashley confirmed that it was deported to the consolidated opioid lawsuit
Purdue reportedly earned more than $ 35 billion from the sale of OxyContin, a number the company has not denied.
Ms. Ashley follows in her footsteps many former federal regulators who are losing blood money after leaving Purdue should not be allowed to do so, "said Drs. Andrew Kolodny, Co-Director of Opioid Policy Research at Brandeis University. "Former DEA and FDA officials should not be allowed to take money from companies that have regulated them," he said. Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University and an expert on government ethics, said that situations such as Ashley's "raise a public opinion – whether the prospect of a payday after she left the government, the actions of the regulator falsified if she was still in government: did that person act differently in the government because she expected or wanted huge amounts of payday from these very powerful economic operators who did this? "
It There is no indication that Ashley's consulting agreement with Purdue is illegal.
During the testimony to the Senate's Justice on December 12, 2017, Ashley said, "The over-prescription and abuse of controlled persons Prescription drugs (CPDs) are inextricably linked to the threat that the United States poses by trafficking in heroin, illegal Fentanyl and fentanyl analogs are faced. … "The United States continues to be affected by a national opioid epidemic, which was partly fueled by the increasing abuse of prescription opioids."
Ashley said 3.4 million Americans alleged abuse of prescribing prescription painkillers in 2016 and the extent of the opioid problem "underlines the need for a robust regulatory program to prevent the diversion of BPR [controlled prescription drugs]."
"Wheels of Justice"
The avalanche of litigation against manufacturers and distributors of opioids was compared to the lawsuits against the tobacco industry, which in 1998 attracted $ 206 billion.
The difference between opioids and tobacco is that patients were asked by their doctors to take opioids. For tobacco consumers, tobacco was a personal choice.
According to the website for the multiple district process, the first opioid process from the consolidated cases is scheduled for October 21st.
However, this is not the only upcoming process for tobacco use Purdue Pharma.
Oklahoma lawyer Mike Hunter will receive his first crack on May 28 in Cleveland County, Oklahoma. Hunter sued opioid manufacturers such as Purdue Pharma, Allergan, Cephalon and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
The judge in this case, District Judge Thad Balkman, recently denied a request by the opioid defendants to delay the trial continue unchecked. "
During the summer, Judge Balkman decided that cameras could be allowed in the courtroom during the upcoming trial, saying," There is no doubt that the issues raised in this matter are of great importance to the citizens of Oklahoma. "19659007] A few days ago, however, Purdue Pharma asked the judge to rethink the case, arguing that" a televised trial on this matter will be fundamentally unfair. He will deny Purdue the proper procedure. "The company's renewed efforts to get rid of cameras in the courtroom were first reported by Law360.
NBC News previously reported that Purdue Pharma is investigating options involving bankruptcies in response to more than 1,000 lawsuits.
In a statement Purdue told NBC News that the company "continues to engage in active discussions with Attorney General and is fully engaged in the multi-district process … to help communities cope with the nation's opioid crisis
"We will continue to work cooperatively with the various legal systems to develop meaningful solutions to address this public health challenge, and we vehemently deny the allegations that Purdue has acted improperly by using prescriptive drugs Doctors about science Communicating medical and medical information that was expressly accepted by the FDA and continues to be inappropriate to replace the plaintiff's verdict with the ruling of regulatory, scientific, and medical professionals [the Food and Drug Administration].