Tag Archives: Pharmacy & Pills

Mexico's drug gangs churning out deadly fentanyl-laced pills: DEA

Mexico's drug gangs churning out deadly fentanyl-laced pills: DEAMexico’s cartels have for years diversified into a wide variety of illicit activity, helped by porous domestic law enforcement agencies as well as long-standing trafficking routes into the United States, their biggest market. Meanwhile, opioid deaths in the United States have soared over the last two decades, driving a wave of government-backed efforts to disrupt illegal distribution and treat addicts. The DEA said that 27% of a sample of counterfeit pills tested in the United States during the first three months of this year contained potentially lethal doses of fentanyl.

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Mexican cartels making 'mass quantities' of fentanyl pills: US

Mexican cartels making 'mass quantities' of fentanyl pills: USUS authorities warned Monday that “mass quantities” of counterfeit prescription drugs laced with the opioid fentanyl are being produced in Mexico for distribution in North America. A sample of tablets seized in the US found that 27 percent contained potentially lethal doses of fentanyl, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that US authorities blame for more than 100 deaths a day in the United States.

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Abortions in Clinics Decline, but Abortions With Black-Market Pills Are Rising

Abortions in Clinics Decline, but Abortions With Black-Market Pills Are RisingThe number of abortions performed in U.S. clinics was lower in 2017 than in any year since abortion became legal nationwide in 1973, new data showed this week. But that does not count a growing number of women who are managing their abortions themselves, without going to a medical office — often by buying pills illicitly.These "invisible" abortions are hard to measure, so it's unclear how much higher the true abortion rate is. But researchers say self-managed abortions have risen as abortion has become more restricted in certain states, and as more people have learned that effective pills can be ordered online or purchased across the border."This is happening," said Jill Adams, executive director of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, which provides legal assistance to women seeking abortions. "This is an irreversible part of abortion care here in the United States."The black market for abortion pills has changed the landscape for those lacking easy access to an abortion clinic or preferring to have an abortion in private. The pills are harder to regulate than in-clinic abortions; they can be easily hidden and shipped, and women can take them at home and appear to have had a spontaneous miscarriage."When you say a self-managed abortion, people think about a coat hanger or a back-alley abortion," said Abigail Aiken of the University of Texas at Austin, who has studied the safety of self-managed abortions and the reasons women choose them. "The reality is we're sitting here in 2019, and it's not like that anymore. You can go online, and you can fill out a form, and you can get this safe and effective technology delivered to your home."Some anti-abortion groups expressed alarm. "The industry's migration to chemical self-abortion is deeply disturbing as it carries with it the possibility of increasing the overall abortion rate over time," Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said in a statement this week.Experts disagree somewhat about how many such abortions are occurring in the United States. Some estimated a few thousand a year; others said tens of thousands. Because they are underground, it's hard to measure them precisely. Those numbers compare with around 862,000 in-clinic abortions in the new yearly count published this week by the Guttmacher Institute, which collects the most detailed statistics about abortion in this country, and supports abortion rights."I have no doubt that it will become more common if access becomes more constrained," said Daniel Grossman, a physician and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, who has studied self-managed abortion overseas and in the United States.The current abortion pill regimen, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, involves two medications. The first, mifepristone, blocks pregnancy-enabling hormones. The second, misoprostol, causes uterine contractions. Between 2014 and 2017, there was a 25% increase in the share of in-clinic abortions by medication instead of by surgery, found the Guttmacher report. They were 39% of abortions in 2017.Mifepristone is tightly monitored in the United States, and is usually administered in a clinic by a certified doctor. But misoprostol, originally developed as an ulcer drug, can be easier to obtain. It is sold over the counter in many countries, including Mexico.When both pills are used for pregnancies of up to 10 weeks, the pills are 98% effective. When misoprostol is taken alone, it is around 80% effective. Aiken's research on self-managed abortions in Ireland found that widespread use of mail-order pills was as safe and effective as the use of pills administered in a doctor's office. A small percentage of women developed bleeding or infections that required follow-up medical care.Aid Access, a service started by a Dutch doctor, offers online counseling with a doctor along with mail-order abortion pills; it entered the United States last year. Other websites also ship the pills to the United States. A study last year in the journal Contraception and (separately) a New York Times columnist tested pills from online vendors and found that the drugs were real.The people least likely to have easy, affordable access to an abortion clinic tend to be poor and live in states that have restricted abortion. For them, traveling to the nearest clinic can seem insurmountable.But there's evidence that even some people with easy access to a clinic are buying and taking pills on their own, for reasons like privacy or cost. Aid Access requests a $ 90 donation for the pills and medical counseling. Other sites charge around $ 200 for the medications. A typical clinic-based medication abortion costs around $ 500, according to Guttmacher, and is only sometimes covered by health insurance.Awareness of the option appears to be spreading, as women share their experiences on Reddit and other online forums. Proponents have started sites explaining how to get the pills — and the medical and legal issues involved.The new Guttmacher report found that in-clinic abortions declined by 7% between 2014 and 2017, and cited increased use of contraception as a major reason. Rachel Jones, a physician and the lead Guttmacher researcher on this week's report, said she thought self-managed abortions were still fairly marginal, but the report mentioned them as a factor for the first time. Other experts said they might be common enough to erase some of the recent measured reduction.In a 2017 editorial in the American Journal of Public Health, Diana Greene Foster, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said the leading explanations for the drop in abortions — better contraception, less sexual activity among young people, and legal restrictions — didn't suffice. Women using the most effective forms of contraception, she noted, seemed to come from different demographic subgroups than the groups with the biggest abortion declines."The total number of abortions may not be decreasing if women are looking outside the medical system to terminate their pregnancies," she wrote.Researchers have tried various ways to measure the practice. They've surveyed women about their experiences with self-managed abortions. They've counted the sales of abortion pills from Aid Access. And some have looked at related questions, like the frequency of abortion-related web searches.Survey research found that around 1% of women at abortion clinics had tried to end a pregnancy with misoprostol. A broader survey of Texas women found that between 2-4% had attempted to perform an abortion on themselves, though sometimes with other, less effective methods.Aid Access reported 21,000 requests for medications for self-induced abortions last year, in its first year in the country. Other vendors don't report sales figures. Plan C, which provides information about self-managed medication abortions, reports about 40,000 online visitors a month.There is also suggestive evidence from Texas, where a law (since overturned) temporarily imposed strict abortion restrictions. In-clinic abortion rates declined statewide, but fell more sharply close to the Mexican border. It's an indication, researchers said, that people were probably buying pills in Mexico or ones brought across the border instead of driving hundreds of miles to a clinic.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

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Dozens of people charged for illegally distributing millions of opioid pills

Dozens of people charged for illegally distributing millions of opioid pillsDozens of people – including six doctors and seven pharmacists – have been charged with fraud for illegally distributing more than 6 million opioid pills.Some of the pills were obtained using counterfeit prescription pads, and the stolen identities of legitimate doctors, prosecutors say.

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Drug bust nets huge haul of heroin and fake oxycodone pills in Delaware

Drug bust nets huge haul of heroin and fake oxycodone pills in DelawareTwo men have been charged with distributing controlled substances – in this case, fentanyl disguised as oxycodone pills.

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Drug makers flooded US with billions of opioid pills as epidemic surged, data shows

Drug makers flooded US with billions of opioid pills as epidemic surged, data showsStatistics are a blow to country’s biggest pharmaceuticals that paid millions of dollars in out of court settlementsPurdue sold $ 3bn of its high-strength branded drug, OxyContin, which in 2010, was about one-third of the opioid market by value at its peak. Photograph: Toby Talbot/APDrug makers and distributors flooded the US with more than 75bn opioid pills in the crucial years when the country’s epidemic of painkiller addiction and deaths surged to record levels, according to previously secret data released by an American court.The publication of the Drug Enforcement Administration statistics is a blow to some of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical firms that have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in out of court settlements in part to keep sealed evidence that they profiteered from escalating demand for opioids even as public health officials were declaring an epidemic.The database covers 2006 to 2012 when opioid prescriptions reached a peak of 282m a year, enough to supply every American adult with a month’s worth of pills. By then, annual sales of narcotic painkillers had surged past $ 8bn.US district judge Dan Polster, in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, is hearing about 2,000 civil cases brought by cities and counties coast-to-coast against opioid makers and distributors, wrapped into a giant case known as a multi-district litigation.He ordered the release of the data following a year-long legal battle by newspaper companies the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, the state worst hit by the opioid epidemic, and the Washington Post.Deliveries of the two most common opioids, hydrocodone and oxycodone, escalated by more than 50% in the years covered by the database, to 12.6bn pills in 2012 alone, an analysis of the DEA numbers by the Washington Post found.By then the federal agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had declared a public health crisis because of the surging death toll from overdoses. Some of the largest increases in sales were to parts of the country already devastated by opioids.Nearly nine out of 10 of the pills were manufactured by subsidiaries of three pharmaceutical multinationals – Mallinckrodt, Endo and Actavis, since renamed Allergan.These companies may not be household names but the pills they sold ardently, often allegedly inappropriately for treatment of chronic pain and while downplaying the risks of addiction, infiltrated communities all across the US in the last two decades.Mallinckrodt sold nearly 29bn opioids in the six years to 2012, taking 38% of the US market. Actavis was not far behind while Endo sold 11bn opioid tablets. Among Endo’s drugs was a high-strength opioid, Opana, that it was forced to pull from the market because it was killing so many people.Meanwhile Purdue Pharma is alleged to have played a leading role in driving the mass prescribing that unleashed the epidemic by changing the practice and culture of pain treatment. It was the fourth-largest manufacturer but with a much smaller proportion of the market at about 3%t.However, the volume of sales does not necessarily reflect the impact of individual drugs on the epidemic. Many of the more common painkillers were lower-strength opioids which helped create dependency and addiction but did not pose the same risk of overdose as stronger but less widely prescribed narcotics.Purdue sold $ 3bn of its high-strength branded drug, OxyContin, in 2010, about one-third of the opioid market by value at its peak.The pill consists of oxycodone, a powerful opioid derived from the opium poppy and which is stronger than morphine. The drug has been widely blamed for a surge in overdose deaths through the 2000s.All of the companies are targets of multiple lawsuits accusing them of driving up opioid sales with false claims about the safety and effectiveness of their drugs as are the members of the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma.The newly released DEA data will bolster the plaintiffs’ claim that responsibility for the epidemic runs wide across the drug industry with manufacturers intent on grabbing as large a part of the opioid market as possible with little regard for the unfolding human tragedy.The opioid makers have denied wrongdoing and, among other things, sought to place blame for the epidemic on doctors overprescribing drugs. But Purdue has previously been hit with a $ 600m fine for a criminal conviction over its marketing of opioids, and in March the company agreed to pay $ 270m to settle a civil suit by the state of Oklahoma. Two years ago, Mallinckrodt paid a $ 35m settlement with the justice department over its opioid deliveries.County-by-county data shows that sales of opioids were often focused on areas most blighted by the epidemic, including some of the poorest parts of Appalachia. At one point, the highest per capita deliveries were to rural Mingo county, West Virginia, where “pill mills” and pharmacies were raking in money by churning out prescriptions without question to anyone who paid cash. The practice drew caravans of drug users from hundreds of miles away.Large numbers of the opioids delivered to Mingo county were by the country’s biggest drug distributor, McKesson Corporation. The Washington Post said the DEA data showed that McKesson and five other companies, including the pharmaceutical chains Walgreens, CVS and Walmart, were responsible for the bulk of painkiller deliveries across the US.McKesson, which is listed seventh in the Fortune 500 paid a record $ 150m fine two years ago to settle federal accusations that it was making suspiciously large deliveries of opioids to places where there could not be a legitimate demand for so many pills.It was also among companies that paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits by West Virginia’s attorney general that they flooded his state with opioids.A former head of the DEA division responsible for monitoring prescription drug distribution, Joe Rannazzisi, has previously told the Guardian that he attempted to launch criminal prosecutions against McKesson and other distributors but he ran into the power of the industry’s political lobbying and was blocked by justice department officials.

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Elon Musk repeatedly breaks down in interview as he admits taking pills to sleep and explains bizarre Tesla tweet

Elon Musk repeatedly breaks down in interview as he admits taking pills to sleep and explains bizarre Tesla tweetElon Musk repeatedly broke down in an interview in which he attempted to explain some of his recent strange behaviour. The Tesla boss has admitted to taking pills to sleep and that he has had a difficult year, alternating between laughter and crying as he did. Mr Musk made the revelations in an interview with the New York Times that appeared to have been organised primarily to address the controversy around a recent tweet he posted about Tesla.

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Indiana teen allegedly tried to kill infant niece by lacing breast milk with pills

Indiana teen allegedly tried to kill infant niece by lacing breast milk with pillsPolice say a 19-year-old from Indiana has been wanted on an arrest warrant for months after allegedly trying to kill her 11-week-old niece old using poisonous breast milk.

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Mom Gets 50 Years for Giving Son, 5, Fatal Dose of Pills and Setting His Body on Fire

Mom Gets 50 Years for Giving Son, 5, Fatal Dose of Pills and Setting His Body on FireNarges Shafeirad pleaded guilty last year to feeding her 5-year-old son, Daniel Dana, a fatal dose of antihistamines.

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Pregnant US women sue over mislabeled birth control pills

A suit was filed in Philadelphia against four pharmaceutical companies that sold birth control pills in packaging that mistakenly reversed the order in which they were to be taken, rendering them ineffectiveMore than 100 women who became pregnant after taking birth control pills that were mislabeled have filed suit in the United States, seeking millions of dollars in damages and interest, their lawyer said Thursday. The suit was filed last week in Philadelphia against four pharmaceutical companies that sold the pills in packaging that mistakenly reversed the order in which they were to be taken, rendering them ineffective. The packaging error left the women "without adequate compensation and at risk for unwanted pregnancy," the complaint charges.

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