In this episode, the guys chat about the way a big organization can do terrible things in plain sight. Chad and Nico recall how a pharmaceutical company transformed itself into a neighborhood drug dealer.
The guys start the show talking about the background of Purdue Pharma. Purdue decided to create a new market entirely by aggressively working to normalize the use of opioids for the management of chronic pain. Purdue created a campaign claiming the idea that there was a national epidemic of untreated pain in America. They wanted the medical industry to do a better job of prescribing opioids.
Purdue utilized an AstroTurf campaign by creating unbranded websites that were supposedly independent information from independent groups. However, the contributors were fake, and the information was completely misleading and false. Purdue even created sales ads that purposely underemphasized the addiction element of opioids. The addiction rate was at least ten times what they were claiming.
When marketing the opioids, Purdue made a point to say that the people who got addicted were of bad character. Plus, they claimed those people were intentionally trying to abuse the medication and that it wouldn’t happen to a responsible person. Typically, in an ad, you have to balance fair and balanced information. However, Purdue completely minimized the risks of opioids.
In 2001 alone, the company spent 200,000 million dollars promoting Oxycontin. In 2004, it became the leading drug of abuse in the United States. However, sales representatives were making six-figure bonuses and loving it. Purdue recruited and trained doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to be their spokespeople.
Purdue kept a database of doctors in order to influence them to prescribe their products. The company would identify physicians with high numbers of chronic pain patients and determine which doctors would prescribe more willingly. Purdue gave away their products for free, knowing those patients would want more.
The guys describe how Purdue manipulated the system and created drug addicts. Plus, they reveal Purdue’s secret plan to profit off of opioid addiction caused by their drugs and explain Purdue’s eventual demise.
Enjoy the show!
We speak about:
- [05:00] About Purdue Pharma
- [11:30] About creating an AstroTurf campaign
- [17:30] How Purdue marketed their opioids
- [24:15] About the Sunshine Act
- [26:30] How Purdue influenced doctors to prescribe their products
- [32:10] The ways Purdue manipulated the system and created drug addicts
- [36:00] Why Purdue never received warning letters
- [40:20] About Project Tango
- [42:20] The demise of Purdue
- [55:10] Podcast reviews